Thanks to these specially-trained canines, acts like Eric Church and Metallica may not have to cancel shows this year.
Going on tour during this volatile season of Omicron is stressful and fear-inducing for any artist. However, an Ohio-based company called Bio Detection K9 is helping ease some of the unpredictability. They’re providing COVID-sniffing dogs to major acts hitting the road this summer.
Among them is Eric Church, who’s currently in Nebraska continuing his 55-city Gather Again Tour, with four German Shepherds in tow. Last year, these specially-trained canines were able to detect at least two COVID-19 cases in his backstage crew by sniffing their hands and feet.
“So far, knock on wood, the dogs have been knocking it out of the park,” said John Peets of Q Prime, the company that manages Church and Metallica. He told Rolling Stone, “We haven’t had a dog miss anybody.”
Metallica have already engaged Bio Detection K9 for a number of shows in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and San Francisco.
After six weeks of training, this 12-canine crew (with eight more on the way) can sniff out COVID-19 on people’s hands and feet. Once they catch a whiff of the virus, they sit down. As they now adapt to the Omicron variant, they’re also being taught to detect the virus by sniffing people’s masks.
“People say, ‘What’s that dog doing?” said Jerry Johnson, president of Bio Detection K9. He told Rolling Stone, “It surprises them and they’re pessimistic, but if you understand the instincts of a dog’s behaviour, it makes a lot of sense. Dogs sniff each other to see if that other dog has a virus. We’re training them to look for something they’d be interested in anyway.”
Dogs have been considered man’s best friend since forever. Now it looks like they might be on the path to becoming man’s best COVID-19 detector as well (for touring artists, at the least). So as Omicron continues to run amuck, at least we can smile at the prospect of that.