Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: the fight against COVID goes to the dogs

Once again, dogs get all the good press.

And once again, I find myself reading aloud a news story to my twin tuxedo cats, Joey and Chandler as they pace around the food bowls in the kitchen.

“Boys, it says here that dogs are being used to detect the coronavirus just by smelling people!”

They immediately flopped to the floor and fell asleep. There was a  definite “wake me up when it’s time for the Fancy Feast” vibe to their reaction.

I’d heard, years ago, dogs could be trained to detect certain cancers, which led to a brief but passionate crusade to get a talented friend to rename his rock band “The Cancer Sniffin’ Dogs.” He didn’t bite. I thought it was genius, but a prophet is seldom loved in her own land. I think Ramona Singer said that.

So it’s not a total shock the dogs being tested at the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Hygiene (home of the “Fightin’ Bar Soaps!”) are showing some promise at detecting COVID before we know we have it. Dogs have long been trained to sniff out certain cancers, contraband, malaria and even a bacteria destroying Florida’s orange groves.

According to The Washington Post, six Labrador retrievers will be deployed to sniff passengers at airports. The goal will be to sniff up to 250 people per hour, a number Joe Biden called “Tuesday.”

That said, it could be unnerving to be pulled out of the TSA line like you’re a favorite rawhide bone, because the doctor is in and it turns out he’s four-legged.

The star of the show, so far, is Poncho, a cute lab who, armed with the scent of urine and saliva samples from Covid-infected humans, is being trained to alert his handlers like you got a pound of weed in your carry-on. Ah, the good old days.

As someone who is afraid of dogs, this will prove doubly traumatic if Poncho “outs” me in an infected state. Why not a cat? WHY????

And then, as if they could read my mind, Joey and Chandler…rolled over and fell back asleep.

For the love of…

The biggest hurdle so far is the lack of dogs available. Turns out,  TSA is already experiencing a serious shortage of explosives-sniffing dogs.

“We don’t have enough detection dogs and…now, all of a sudden everyone wants a COVID detection dog?” mused one official.

Well, not everyone. It’s not like telling Santa you want a puppy, but I get her point. I’d be happy to ship her my neighbor’s dog who waits until I get dead-even with his fence on my (cough) daily walk and then barks so loudly I jump, flap my arms wildly and scream. Every single time. Yes, where can HE sign up?

Will there ever come a day when a cat performs this sort of heroic work? Ha. Look at that. I think Joey and Chandler are laughing in their sleep.

Celia Rivenbark spent an entire day putting together a hanging shoe organizer that “assembles in 15 minutes.”

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