Dogs Save Our Asses Again; This Time Detecting COVID at Heat Games

If there is one thing readers of this blog either know about me, or should, it’s that I love dogs. They’re fun, loyal, cute, and just all-around just as good as it gets. If someone were grading God on his creations, dogs would unquestionably get a 100/100. As an aside, the wonderpus gets a f****** zero. If I ever go into the ocean and encounter a wonderpus, it’s over for me, man. I’m just packing it up and living the rest of my life in confinement.

In fact, I find people who don’t like dogs among the least trustworthy people on our planet, right there along with adults who cut off their sandwich crusts, people who clap when planes land, and that original Dunkin Donuts guy. I don’t know what was up with him, I just don’t like it. Dogs also serve us in ways that aren’t adorable, like as emotional support animals for the sick and elderly, drug and bomb-sniffing duty, and now, they are being used to detect COVID at Miami Heat games.

The Heat hope to admit fans up to a count of 2,000, or up to 10 percent of capacity, per the Associated Press. To do so, they have teamed up with nearby Florida International University, whose Forensic Research Institute trained Cobra, One Betta, Hubble and Mac to detect the smell of COVID-19. The dogs will sniff a would-be fan entering the arena and if they keep walking, the fan is OK to walk into the arena, and if the dog sits, then they are not. Fans who are scared of dogs and like I said earlier should not be trusted in that case can opt for a rapid antigen test, which takes upwards of 45 minutes.

According to The Miami Herald, the dogs are trained using positive reinforcement like toys to detect the virus. FIU’s FRI director DeEtta Mills told The Herald the virus causes metabolic changes, and the dogs are trained to smell the odor that change emits.

Illustration picture shows the training of corona detection dogs, at K9 Detection, in Jabbeke/Bredene, Wednesday 16 December 2020. (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

As someone who supports innovative thinking, I am all for this idea. It gets fans in the seats, an atmosphere back on TV, and good boys and girls toys and tennis balls. I don’t believe the measure is going far enough, though. As someone who cannot get into college basketball in the COVID era, with homecourt advantage nonexistent, I think we are onto something with dogs in the arena. Why not pack one section full of dogs, put videos of cats and mailmen on the Jumbotron when the opposition is shooting free throws, and try to regain some of that advantage? You could even have the PA tell the crowd, “get on your paws, Heat fans!”

I know you’re probably concerned about the dogs peeing all over the ground in the arena, but the Celtics were able to play in the old Garden with far more urine in the nosebleed seats. For more on the initiative, read the Herald piece here.

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