We are hoping the athletes and international visitors to London all had a scratch-free sleep last night. If so, this may be down to the canine community. A team of talented sniffer dogs have been employed in hotels and accommodation throughout the metropolis to ensure that rooms are free of bed bugs.
We wonder if, in non-Olympic years, visitors are just expected to slap on calamine lotion? Anyway, due to the recent heat wave and humidity the dogs have been carrying out their sniffing through the night.
Our two, Molly and Matilda, probably add to the insect population by sleeping on top of our beds. It doesn’t bare thinking about what is actually living in most dog owners’ bed linen. We all start with such good intentions. Oh well.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to see some of the sporting medals handed out to our four-legged friends? Their ability to alert is being well and truly tested during this mammoth event. A temporary “dog hotel” has been set up near the Olympic site for the British Transport Police Explosive Search Dogs. Forty five labradors and spaniels will be living alongside a group of volunteers in dog husbandry. With trains arriving every fourteen seconds into the Olympic Park, they are going to be working overtime.
We have seen these dogs working in places like Camden Tube station and it’s such an exact science and takes such concentration they are rested every ten minutes or so. Apparently in their Olympic doggy hotel there is an isolation room with air conditioning for recuperation.
All of this is proof of a dog’s incredible sense of smell. They have two hundred and twenty million scent detectors as compared to our five million. Another reason not to take them on the same boring old walk around the local park every day. They are already being used to alert to epilepsy, diabetes and now even cancer. In Australia there is a bloodhound employed to alert to corked wine! And, along with drugs, they can sniff out counterfeit money and DVDs.
The obviously intense training for bomb detection sniffer dogs guarantees the dogs won’t discover a bomb and return it to the trainer.
Considering all this, surely they deserve to be rewarded with a medal or two?
Last week, our heart went out to the cynical and controversial shock jock Howerd Stern. Hardly able to hold back tears, voice struggling with emotion, he attempted to inform listeners of the recent death of his dog. She was a white bulldog called Bianca, very similar in appearance to our own Matilda.
If ever you need convincing of how dogs can bring love into your life listen to the broadcast. The edgy dismissive tone was gone and replaced by the heart wrenching account of how his wife had continued cleaning the dog’s wrinkles knowing Bianca had only just passed away.
It’s a privilege, and one both of us have experienced, to share such personal moments with listeners on a radio show. Few people are given that cathartic experience. But it did remind us of a debate that continues over whether it is permissible to take time off work following the death of a pet.
With any other member of the family it would be expected that your place of work would allow time to deal with the death and grieve. We would be interested to hear how many bosses are quite so understanding over the demise of the family pet.
One thing is for certain though, if anything ever happened to one of our two, you won’t find us, that night, sitting behind the mic.
Barking at the Moon is on every Thursday from 10pm till midnight on BBC London 94.9fm
- Olympics come to rocking end with a pop party
- ROLL CALL: One Direction, Kate Bush & Pet Shop Boys Added To Olympic Closing Ceremony?
- Critter Corner: Why does dog carry food off to another room to eat it?
- Olympics 2012: Kate Bush, George Michael, The Who Expected to Perform at Closing Ceremony
- Olympics 2012: Kate Bush, George Michael, The Who Tipped to Perform at Closing Ceremony