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Dogs In The News!

The world seems to be changing every single day, but one thing that we can always count on is the…

The world seems to be changing every single day, but one thing that we can always count on is the love and comfort of our furry friends. When times get tough, priorities are realigned, and what keeps popping up near the top of the list? Dogs! There are so many news stories about dogs now-days. How are dogs helping us through this crisis? What have we learned about our dogs and their amazing abilities? Let’s explore!


Probably the most exciting canine news is the research being conducted to train dogs to detect the presence of the coronavirus in people. Why not? They are masters at sniffing out cancers, tuberculosis, diabetes, and other diseases. Illnesses change our body odors, something that we would never detect, but our pups will. And if the dogs prove adept, they could provide a quick, noninvasive screening tool used as a first line of detection at hospitals, nursing homes, testing centers, airports… anywhere the risk of transmission is threatening.

Currently, training for this type of detection is being conducted in the United States and in England. It will take several weeks of experimentation to make sure that 1) the coronavirus has a unique odor, and 2) if it can be identified by the dogs. But researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine hope to be able to train and deploy coronavirus sniffing dogs in as little as two months! Wow. With the lack of medical testing available in many countries, sniffer dogs could revolutionize our response to the virus.


We have long since known the health benefits of owning a pet: lowered blood pressure, lowered anxiety levels, increased immunity, and more. Now those needs are at the forefront of our lives. Quarantine restrictions and the fear of how our life is changing is mentally and physically taxing. It goes without saying that these are particularly stressful times. Each day we can read articles of how someone has been supported or comforted by their pet. Just petting a dog is soothing. WebMD says that petting actually releases a relaxing hormone in our body. As dog owners, most all of us have a story of when our pet was particularly attentive and comforting following a stressful event.

Because of this, shelters across America are celebrating the increase in fostering and adoptions. Isn’t that wonderful? A new pet gives us something to focus on other than the pandemic. It’s not just because of the “novelty” of having a new family member, but participating in their care shifts our focus to more fundamental things, like taking the dog for a walk, preparing their meals, playing, brushing and grooming, etc.. Healing happens when we are able to unplug from negative thoughts and worry.


Earlier this month, we posted a news article from GMA on the Holiday Barn Pet Resorts Facebook page about a 7-year-old Golden Retriever named Sunny. Sunny has an elderly neighbor who suffers from COPD. This puts her at a high-risk for the coronavirus so she is unable to go out in public to get groceries and other necessities. Sunny had already learned how to pick things up and bring them back to her owner. It only took a few minutes for Sunny to learn to retrieve the neighbor’s grocery list and bring it back to her mom so that she could do the shopping for the neighbor. Afterwards, Sunny enthusiastically delivers the bags to the neighbor, wagging her tail all the way!

Just this morning, I read a sweet story about a 2-year-old Rottweiler therapy dog named “Loki”. Loki has been visiting patients and staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center for over a year now. The hospital staff loves her and would look forward to her visits. After the coronavirus lock-down, hospital visits are no longer allowed. So, believe it or not, Loki and Mom would check-in with the staff via video conferencing, aka “digital dogtor”. During these digital visits, Loki’s Mom noticed how the hospital staff’s faces were becoming irritated from wearing masks all day, which prompted her to help. She put together what she calls “Hero Healing Kits” which include moisturizers, lotions, lip balm, medicated powder, tea and more. And, of course, each kit has a picture of Loki in it. And now, Loki, dressed in her adorable pink hospital scrubs, helps to deliver the kits to the medical staff she loves so much!


I love the news story by Dodo about the flight attendant and her canine passenger. The Airline industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and one particular flight attendant, Jenn, was disheartened by the lack of people on her flight. With only 6 passengers, the attendant wasn’t needed to spend her time servicing guests. So she was thrilled to see a sweet little dog board the plane. The dog sat in its very own seat and would watch Jenn as she moved up and down the aisle. Soon the two were having their own little version of peek-a-boo, or as she calls it, “hide and seek”. How endearing. Jenn says, “When I see dogs on my flights it makes my entire day better,” I’m sure she will never forget this sweet little girl who helped to raise her spirits during a lonely time.


And the most bizarre news about dogs comes from Uber, who is launching a new fleet of cars piloted by specially trained canine drivers. What a great idea! I mean, dogs can’t carry the coronavirus so what better idea is there to safely transport humans? The service, called UberArf, will employ a team of mid to large sized dogs as drivers in several major US cities. During the 6-week pilot program, the canine drivers were shown to receive remarkably high reviews from passengers. There are just a few issues to iron out before UberArf is available to the public, but Uber representatives are optimistic about the project’s launch later this year.

Oh, by the way, that last story was published on April 1st this year. April Fools Day. Gotcha!

We hope that this helped cheer you up in these uncertain times. As always, if you ever have any questions about your pets, please feel free to contact either our Glen Allen or Midlothian location!

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