Sunday Thoughts (dogs & the pandemic)

Throughout this pandemic, I've felt incredibly lucky.

I'm managing to stay healthy, and I've had more time to spend with both my wife Karen, and our rock through this whole ordeal, our dog Ellie.

People with dogs are managing better than those without. They force us to get out and walk. They lower our stress. And they don't know what's going on, but they're just happy we're around more often than before.

It's hard to stay sad with a wagging tail in front of you.

But what I read recently could vault dogs to the front of the line when it comes to dealing with what remains of this pandemic.

Because as it turns out, trained dogs have an incredible ability to detect the presence of the coronavirus, sometimes better than the most sensitive tests.

For years, dogs have been used to detect bombs, drugs and even diseases, like cancer. They can sense when a seizure is about to happen, or when your blood sugar is dangerously low.

And now they're being used to sniff out the coronavirus.

Current tests require nasal swabs. Or in some countries... anal swabs (yikes!).

But these things take time, and a sample is typically sent to a lab. But in recent studies, dogs were able to detect the virus 80%, 94%, 95% or even 100% of the time.

Sometimes in people who even tested negative the first time.

Now, I don't know how widespread this testing will become. But it does sound promising.

There are pilot programs being developed in Thailand, Germany, Finland and India, with the idea of deploying dogs to airports to start. The dogs may be even more accurate than temperature checks currently used.

Because dogs have been able to detect the virus with a quick sniff, even if there are no other symptoms present.

And I'd surely prefer a sniff to a swab, no matter where they're planning to stick it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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