We hope so! We are excited to be a part of a new KOVID-19 Detection Task Force, which is headed up by Rodney Little, trainer and owner of Top Dog Services of Youngwood, PA. Rodney’s business provides dog-walking, several levels of obedience training classes, and a popular Therapy Dog program that dispatches dogs to brighten the lives of nursing home residents, hospital patients, and children. Like so many businesses, Top Dog Services has been crippled by COVID-19.
While trying to figure out a plan to keep his business afloat, Rodney received a call from Theodore S. J. Davi, Ph.D., Chairman/CEO of Gambit Interactive Corporation, with a unique proposal for Rodney that could have a major impact on stemming the spread of COVID-19: to train dogs to detect and alert to the virus.
Rodney’s first order of business was to assemble a task force, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it! Our owner and head trainer, Elissa Weimer, will be in charge of vetting and training all K-9 handlers. Since time is of the essence, the trainers will not be starting with puppies, but will begin scent training dogs from Top Dog’s obedience and therapy programs whose owners are willing for them to participate.
Once trained, the dogs will be deployed with their handlers to airports, areas of mass transit, schools, hospitals, stadiums, malls, and anywhere the public gathers. When an alert occurs, the case will be referred to health services to test and quarantine or treat as necessary. Every measure recommended by the CDC will be taken for the personal protection of all involved in this project including medical grade Personal Protection Equipment.
We are optimistic about the success of the project because dogs are already being used widely to detect and alert to diabetic conditions, changes in blood pressure, the onset of seizures, and specific types of cancer. It is reasonable to assume that they can be trained to detect a specific virus.
The duration of this project will be determined by the course of the COVID-19 virus but if successful it could well become a pilot program for combating future pandemics.
If you have a dog that you think would be a good candidate for a KOVID-19 detection dog, or if you have some dog training experience and would like to be considered for a dog handler position, fill out the dog application below. Owners must be willing to part with their canines during the 8 week training program (unless you are going to be their handler). Handlers must have open availability and be able to travel and deploy to different arenas throughout the county. Handlers must also be open and willing to take training direction from Head Trainer Elissa Weimer during our accelerated 8 week scent training program. Compensation will be based on the amount we are granted through the government.
We are also accepting donations to help fund this task force: