A new four-legged, wet-nosed addition greets people at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. “Buffy” is a 2-year-old, sweet-tempered, yellow Labrador retriever and a highly trained scent detection dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs. Buffy meets visitors as they enter the hospital and if she detects COVID-19, the visitor is asked to get additional testing. Testing can be done free of charge at the hospital or if visitors prefer, another location.
Trainers at Southeastern Guide Dogs placed “Buffy” in a scent detection study nine months ago. Using deactivated samples from COVID-19 patients at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Buffy was trained to detect changes in a person’s immune system. Labrador retrievers have an estimated 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans. The dogs can detect our body fighting the virus. During training, the dogs are approximately 95% effective at detecting COVID-19 in a person. If Buffy detects COVID-19 she simply lays down at the visitor’s feet and waits for a treat.
Visitors entering the hospital will still be screened by a hospital caregiver, have their temperature taken and be required to wear a mask. Buffy is being used as an extra resource, although a very furry one, to help keep the community safe. Hospital CEO, Robert Meade, adopted Buffy and she lives with the Meade family when she is not at the hospital.
When Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins spoke to reporters outside his residence recently, his pet Bernese Mountain Dog completely stole the show. The dog was caught on camera trying every trick in the dog book to get Higgins’ attention, to little, adorable avail.
The AKC Humane Fund, Inc, is pleased to announce that applications for the John D. Spurling, O.B.E. Scholarship are now open. The Fund will award five scholarships, at $2,000 each, payable as tuition assistance to accredited institutions where students are enrolled in courses of study focusing on the care of pets.
From The Dog Lady’s mailbag: The American Kennel Club (AKC®) Education Department is proud to introduce The Canine Corner, a free online newsletter packed with content and resources for teachers in grades K-12.
“We are excited to offer even more resources to help teachers engage students in and out of the classroom,” said Ashley Jacot, Director of Education. “We are committed to helping educators teach responsible dog ownership and the importance of the human-canine bond.”
The Canine Corner is a free subscription service that is delivered monthly. Each online newsletter contains lesson plans, read alouds, and many more activities for teachers, such as a science lesson teaching about force and change in mass using AKC Agility, reading comprehension task cards, and creating line graphs using puppy growth data, among others.
Ryan Fischer is a dog walker, one of whose clients is Lady Gaga. As you’ve no doubt heard, he was shot while walking the three dogs. Two of the animals were stolen, then later recovered. He took to Instagram to tell us about the incident: