Time for Jelly to earn her keep

I thank all of you for your thought-provoking and kind musings over the past week. I’ve been grateful for your feedback and your insights. I think we all deserve a break after a week of emotionally overloaded posts, though.

Have I already mentioned that the Canadian version of Border Security has been cancelled? It’s been a good run. Those incredible sniffer dogs astound me. Their sensitive schnozes can be trained to identify drugs and explosives and food and excessive moolah. Turns out a person carrying lots of bucks may be trying to launder money, which does not involve a washing machine, so says J.

Assistance dogs are not just for the visually impaired anymore. Dogs have been trained to help people with specific health conditions, such as diabetic blood sugar crashes and cardiac arrhythmias (I’m talking to you, POTSy). The dogs’ noses are so sensitive they can identify the scents that precede certain medical crises and alert their humans.

Believe it or not, dogs can also be trained to identify some cancers. My leukemia was not diagnosed by a dog, however. I guess my defective blood smells no different than yours.

But there’s a new dog in health care who may improve my chances of survival. Angus, the Springer spaniel who’s been trained to sniff out C. difficile has been all over the news this week. He’s currently employed at Vancouver General Hospital–hopefully he’s negotiated a fair wage since the cost of living in Vancouver is exhorbitant–but if he’s effective, other dogs may be trained to do the same.

C. diff runs rampant among hospitalized patients, especially those on antibiotics, immunocompromised people like me, and long-term-care residents. Stringent cleaning protocols help, and UV lights can identify high concentrations of these germs. Angus is so sensitive to C. diff that he can locate those germ clusters much faster, highlighting the areas that need further cleaning. He’s sent in only when patients are not present.

I can see one problem with Angus’s approach: C. diff is spread from person to person through poor hand hygiene. Humans house the bacteria, and then touch things with their germy hands. Angus checks the environment–tables, countertops and other surfaces–for potential contamination, but why not have him check the people? Go straight to the source, I say.

Unleash Angus’s potential and let him do what he does best: let him sniff real live humans. Get his nose right in there (I’ll leave what I mean by “there” to your imagination). Sniff out the offenders before they spread those nasty bacteria. Sounds more efficient and effective to me, although others might find the dog’s methods a bit intrusive.

Loosen up, folks, and let Angus in for a whiff. It could save your life.

Maybe Jelly could follow in Angus’s stead and get a job. Bacteria detection is probably out, though; she can’t even find a stray kibble under her nose. But if you want to rid your sidewalk of rabbit poop or need a reliable pre-dawn alarm, have I got the pooch for you. Trying to lose those last few pounds? Let Jelly relieve you of the lunch you left unattended on your counter. Contact her directly at 1-800-countersurf.

Dog in colourful room, front feet on side of bed

Hey, isn’t it time to get up yet?

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5 thoughts on “Time for Jelly to earn her keep

  1. The unexpected shout out made me smile – thank you! I know a fellow POTSy with a dog who can alert her when she is going to faint or seizure – so neat. I hadn’t heard of dogs detecting c diff. That’s really interesting, and I agree with you; why not have him sniff the actual patients? I’d be game if I were in the hospital. Here in the US, they would probably even find a way to bill insurance for it. 😀

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  2. Coming back from a work related trip to the USA I had a very cute Beagle dog that spent a long time at my suitcase. I’m sure it must of been all those delicious farm smells and the dog having dreams of the wondourous adventures it could be having. Finally it did move along.

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