Quick! What’s the answer to all life’s problems? Some say Chocolate; some say Coffee. From more highbrow quarters the answer may be Mozart. Homer Simpson thinks it’s Donuts.
But of course the best answer is Dogs.
Is there any problem, breakdown, threat or challenge that cannot be fixed or largely offset by simply having a dog (or two) on hand to put things right? Case in point: the number of dogs that have helped their families through the trials of COVID lockdown, taking their frazzled owners out for a walk or offering soulful eyes and solace just whenever needed.
And that’s just for starters. When it came to the need for rapid COVID detection at airports, who stepped up to offer their truly superhuman skills? Well, dogs of course.
Several months ago we reported that Dr Anne-Lise Chaber and Dr Susan Hazel of the University of Adelaide, also others from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Belgium and France, have researched the use of sniffer dogs to identify those who may unwittingly be carrying the COVID virus – just like the Beagle or Lab you saw working the line when you last travelled (remember when?). And trials are continuing at Sydney and Adelaide airports now.
It makes sense, dogs can achieve extraordinary feats of scent-detection: from identifying bed bugs and termites in buildings, to locating survivors buried under earthquake rubble and finding animals in distress. Who could forget Bear the Koala Rescue dog saving koala lives following the 2019/2020 bushfires?
The COVID detection dog idea is ever-evolving. One limiting factor: getting sufficient dogs trained to the specific scent of the virus and its antibodies, also that air-travel is now vastly reduced, also that some people may be unnerved by the close presence of a dog, making the direct-contact approach problematic.
But let’s support the teams working on it. As ever: when all else fails, ask the dog.
More information can be found here –
Latest COVID-19 Detector Dog Research and Trials Underway at Adelaide Airport
Sniffer dogs could be on COVID frontline as government trials continue
Bear update: koala detection dog crucial in the 2019-2020 Australian bushfires