Good girl, Buffy! Sarasota dog sniffs out COVID-19

Suncoast hospital using dogs to Detect COVID-19

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Meet Buffy - The yellow Labrador that’s been trained to smell if a person has COVID-19.

Buffy’s been trained for the last four months using inactive samples of the virus to eventually screen people at the Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota. When guests enter the hospital, Buffy sniffs them. If she detects COVID-19, she’ll lay at their feet and that person will get a rapid test.

“It’s a great resource in the sense that it gives us an opportunity to go beyond just asking the questions and taking the temperatures,” Hospitalist Eve Sprague said.

In five seconds, Buffy can offer 95 percent accuracy in identifying COVID-19 in a person.

She was originally raised to be a guide dog, so trainer Laska Parrow had to teach her and her three classmates how to use their noses instead.

“When they first laid down at the COVID [sample], I was like, ‘Oh! Yes!’ And I emptied my entire treat bag into the dog’s mouth. I will be honest,” Parrow said.

Buffy can be found screening patients and visitors at Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota, where she will also accept pats on the head for her services, on top of her normal payment of cookies.

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