In addition to being the cutest good boys and girls, groups of dogs are being deployed to sniff out COVID-19, and some are being used as a tool to help keep kids back in school on 'normal' schedules.

According to an article in the New York Post, several COVID-sniffing dogs trained by BioScent Inc., are being used to detect COVID and to help prevent unknown transmissibility in schools and airports from Florida to Massachusets.

In Massachusetts, they're actually being used to detect the virus in kids as they return back to the classrooms from winter break. Bristol, MA, County Sheriff's spokesman Jonathan Darling said that the dogs love to work and when they're not working, they just want to give kisses.

The Sheriff's office sent two Labradors to Florida International University, as they specialize in training dogs to find COVID in people and on surfaces. The researchers at the school had been working on scent training since 1993 and added COVID to their list in 2020. The dogs show about 99.6% accuracy in detection, and they're so much less intrusive than testing can be.

Following the lead from BARK (the company behind BARKBoxes), who reached out to BioScent Inc., dogs sniffing COVID out are becoming more commonplace. BioScent mainly uses Beagles and BARK wanted to prepare for workers returning to their office spaces at the end of the year. Stacie Grissom is BARK Company Spokesperson and she said that since dogs were at the center of everything they did, it made sense to work with COVID-sniffing dogs to return back to workspaces.
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Dogs are often used to detect everything from bed bugs to explosive devices, as well as diabetes and cancer. COVID-19 may just be another notch in their collars. The only caveat for COVID-19 scent dogs is that once they are trained to detect the virus, they cannot be retrained to detect other scents.

That said...for a while, it looks like they'll have work cut out for them.

Images: Bristol County, MA Sheriff's Office