A pair of new highly trained dogs are now able to detect the scent found among people who would test positive for COVID-19 and are slated to visit and tour three Massachusetts school districts, are reported by local media sources this past Tuesday.
The two dogs in question are a golden lab named Duke and a black labrador named Huntah.
The three districts that dogs plan on playing include Lakeville, Norton, and Freetown School districts. Throughout their tours, the dogs are slated to pay visits to over 15 different school locations to display their talents.
“With COVID, whether it’s the Omicron, whether it’s the Delta, our dogs will hit on it,” stated Bristol County Capt. Paul Douglas to WBZ-TV. “And if there’s a new variant that comes out in six months, hopefully there isn’t, but if there is one, COVID is COVID.”
COVID Detecting Dogs Begin Working In 3 Massachusetts School Districtshttps://t.co/vhX3JkiCXq
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) January 4, 2022
“I see it as a great opportunity for kids to recognize that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the risk and I want them to feel secure and safe and not anxious about their surroundings,” stated Tara Kohler, the Fairhaven School Superintendent, to the news outlet.
DeEtta Mills is the Dir. of the International Forensic Research Institute at FIU & Biology Chair — in Norton today to certify the detector dogs.
The program was modeled after training dogs to sniff out a fungus that killed avocado trees in Florida. pic.twitter.com/V47qOYb8Fu
— Kelly O'Neill (@NBC10_KellyO) January 5, 2022
Duke and Huntah have been officially considered the first two law enforcement dogs in the country that are trained to search for and detect the presence of the coronavirus.
“BCSO K9s Huntah and Duke are the first law enforcement K9s in the country trained to detect COVID. We celebrated at a small graduation ceremony yesterday,” stated the department in a tweet late last year.
BCSO K9s Huntah and Duke are the first law enforcement K9s in the country trained to detect COVID. We celebrated at a small graduation ceremony yesterday. Huntah is Capt. Douglas’ partner and Duke is paired with Officer Santos. @SheriffHodgson pic.twitter.com/fohQMK5mnW
— Bristol County Sheriff's Office (@BristolSheriff) July 15, 2021
This new program, with its success, has led to newly discovered fame for the pair of dogs as well.
“@SheriffHodgson is sitting down with Dr. DeEtta Mills and Brett Mills for his podcast today. Dr. Mills and the @FIU_Forensics team created the Covid-detection dog program and researched the science behind it. Today, the BCSO has two Covid dogs thanks to FIU,” read a post from the Bristol COuntry Sheriff’s Office this past Thursday.
“K9 Officer Teddy Santos and his partner Duke joined Sheriff Hodgson on the next episode. We’ll post the links when the shows are released,” it added.
K9 Officer Teddy Santos and his partner Duke joined Sheriff Hodgson on the next episode. We’ll post the links when the shows are released. pic.twitter.com/TWqlwmytjk
— Bristol County Sheriff's Office (@BristolSheriff) January 6, 2022
These two heroic pups are part of a program out of Florida International University that has been training k-9s for COVID-19 protection.
“Our COVID-19 detector dogs are part of our campus-wide efforts to create the best possible environment using available evidence and our own research,” stated Kenneth Furton, the FIU Provost and Chief Operating Officer, back in January of 2021.
“Much like bomb-detecting dogs, COVID-19 detecting dogs can sweep an area and alert to the presence of the odor that is left on surfaces (particles, aerosols, cellular material) by a person infected with COVID-19,” stated the report.
The dogs from the program at Miami International Airport issued reports stating that they were 99% accurate at the detection of COVID-19 for the month of September.
“In published, peer-reviewed, double-blind trials, the dogs were found to accurately detect COVID-19 96 to 99 percent of the time,” concluded Newsweek.