The nose knows—just ask Huntah and Duke! These two Labrador retrievers help sniff out Covid-19 in schools throughout Bristol County, Massachusetts.
The canines went through about 10 weeks of training to learn how to detect the Covid-19 virus on objects. They learned to pick up the scent of the virus by smelling masks worn by people who had been infected.
“Their noses are thousands of times more accurate and powerful than a human’s,” says Jonathan Darling. He works with the Bristol County’s Sherriff’s Office, which handles the dogs.
Huntah and Duke visit between 25 and 30 schools a week. If a dog detects the virus that causes Covid, it will sit down and wag its tail, alerting the handlers.
The dogs have sniffed out Covid in many of the schools they have visited. But there’s good news: None of the cases were bad enough to shut a school down. When Covid is detected, the area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Darling says that Huntah and Duke will remain on duty until the pandemic finally comes to an end.
“In a perfect world, Covid will go away,” Darling says. “But as long as it’s an issue in schools and our country, we’ll gladly be here to help out.”