Hey, I’m a German dog, right?!! And sniffing is my thing (along with fetch). I even went to a special nose-training class to sharpen my skills.
Apparently dogs with only a few days of training are capable of identifying people infected with the coronavirus, according to a study by a German veterinary university. Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces were trained for only a week and were able to accurately identify the virus with a 94% success rate, according to a pilot project led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. Researchers challenged the dogs to sniff out COVID-19 in the saliva of more than 1,000 healthy and infected people, which is certainly nothing grosser than the dead rodents I regularly scarf up on my afternoon walks. I am qualified!
“We think that this works because the metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient are completely changed,” explained Maren von Koeckritz-Blickwede, a professor at the university, in a YouTube video about the project. “We think that the dogs are able to detect a specific smell.” You bet. And since I can detect a Charlee Bear or a frozen PBB from 50 yards away, I think I’m a natural.
Von Koeckritz-Blickwede said that the next step will be to train dogs to differentiate COVID samples from other diseases such as influenza. And there are other possible applications. Since a dog’s sense of smell is around 1,000 times more sensitive than humans, we might be deployed to detect infections at places such as airports, border crossings and sporting events. I foresee a second career for myself, if I ever hang up my fetch fetish.
Meanwhile, my next important job will be guarding Heather and our house while Mike spends a couple of days in the hospital to fix his back so he is able to bend down and pick up my poop without pain. Am I up for the task? Gary Larsen didn’t think so! But I’m out to prove those haters wrong.