With its amazing sense of smell, dogs snouts are used for a number of assignments — everything from the well-known tasks like sniffing out bombs and drugs to the not-so-common jobs of finding electronic devices with criminal activity on them and searching for rare animals in dense forests. And now you can add smelling out human poop in water to the latter category.
Touting itself as the only company that trains dogs to sniff out human waste in water, couple Karen and Scott Reynolds are the owners of Environmental Canine Services.
“We’re the only company in the world that does this, that we know of,” Karen told Detroit Free Press.
The dogs’ job of smelling out human poop in water sources helps scientists, government agencies and private businesses discover bacteria like as E. coli faster and cheaper than other methods — including sending hundreds of water samples to labs at $25 to $50 a pop and waiting weeks for the results. With the help of dogs, the sniff test can be done on site. And while the pups can’t decipher between the acceptable and non-acceptable levels of human waste in our water (gross), just being able to acknowledge there is human waste eliminates the need to send so many samples to be tested. These pups can also find the source of the problem quicker. Once they get a hit on a water bucket, they go into the field to streams and rivers to discover the issue’s origin.
The idea for their company originated back in 2009 when Scott was an environmental scientist in Lansing, Mich. Often his job required him to test storm water for water bacteria – a monotonous process. His boss suggested training a dog to sniff out human waste in water sources – and it worked.
Now with six working dogs and two in training, the team has completed 75 projects in nine states.
Check out this video to see the dogs in action: