MILAN – Using search and rescue dogs to monitor the condition of water in streams, rivers and lakes, via their sense of smell. This experimental idea came to Scott and Karen Reynolds, an American couple with a passion for pets and the environment. Their company, Environmental Canine Services, has established this innovative system in the States, where search and rescue dogs are used to locate “illegal discharge in the drainage systems and in water networks”.
The capabilities of dogs
The first experiment was completed thanks to Sable, a German shepherd, and Logan, a collie, who tackled the city of Exeter, where a small watercourse was undergoing maintenance. The dogs examined five specimens of water, which were then delivered to the authorities. Through their contribution, human waste was identified in the water in Norris Brook. The owners thus commented on the abilities of their four-legged friends: “When Sable finds a sample of contaminated water, he barks, whereas Logan sits down”.
An efficient method
“Scott Reynolds has a degree in Environmental Studies from Michigan State University and a certain amount of experience of working with search and rescue dogs – explained his wife Karen in an interview – We have been studying dogs’ curiosity about discovering smells in water for a long time. Sable, our first dog, is now well-known all over the country”. According to the pioneers of this approach, the method of using trained dogs to sniff out water pollution is quick and effective and has already been requested by many small communities.