Full disclosure. I’m a dog lover. I’ve had four German shepherd dogs and we are awaiting the arrival of our fifth. My first — his name was Faust — I got from a police detective in Boulder, Colorado while I was attending the University of Colorado. There wasn’t a place I went without him, except to class.
One day he was so distraught that I tied him to go to my geography lab that he pulled the entire railing of the front porch of the house and dragged it down the street. Fortunately, the police knew where he lived.
During the winter holiday, I’d drive back and forth with him to my parents’ house in Connecticut, Faust in the back seat, 2,000 miles. I’d sleep in the back with him on top of me to stay warm in my VW bug. All to say, we were best friends and he probably knew me better than my other best friends. Dogs know more about us than we may ever realize. This was confirmed for me over the past couple of weeks. I’m talking science facts, not wishful thinking.
We know that dogs have over 300 million scent receptors. One veterinarian described a dog’s smell this way. She said, “Dogs smell in colors.”Dogs can be used to detect cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, malaria, seizures, drugs, anxiety, and now, they’re being trained to detect COVID-19.
One of several training grounds for these dogs is in the United Kingdom, Medical Detection Dogs, and they are working to train these “best friends” to identify COVID-19. Once trained — usually from a scent in the blood, saliva, or urine — it’s estimated they could test about 250 people an hour. Time to results? A dog’s breath.
These four-legged beings are truly man’s best friend. The Greeks had their Oracles to gratify them with ambiguity. Dogs on the other hand only know how to speak absolute truth to our needs and — this is an important — “and”… they are always happy to see us, come rain or come shine.
Bill Sims is a Hillsboro resident, an author, and with his wife runs a small farm in Berrysville. He is a former educator, executive and foundation president.