Sniffer dog that has a nose for dry rot
As humans we are still discovering unique ways in which our 4 legged friends can help us. From sniffer dogs that sniff out dangerous drugs, to explosive dogs and even dangerous cancers, a dog can help with all that and more. One new discovery that may be a little more surprising is that dogs have now been trained to sniff out dry rot from people’s homes.
One particular dog, a golden Labrador named Sam is in high demand. He was once a rescue dog whose owners could not handle him because he was too boisterous. It seems his life has now turned around. Sam is now working for Peter Monaghan, a surveyor, uncovering dry rot in historic homes.
It may not sound like a lot however when the National Trust spends £51.8 million a year on property conservation, Sam is indeed a rare commodity that could help detect the early stages of such problems. The National Trust is a charitable trust that is given the challenging task of looking after some of Britain’s most treasured stately homes.
Currently there are thought to be only 2 “rothounds”, commercial dogs that are able to sniff out dry rot, in the UK.
They are working for the Surrey-based Hutton and Rostron company which specialises in controlling dry rot and decay in buildings across the country.
Sam has recently been working at Wimpole Hill and Jess Marczewski who works there said that "Dry rot has been an on-going problem for us. It was popping up everywhere and we just couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from,"
"One of the trust's conservators suggested we try a different way of tackling it, and that's where Sam comes into the story."
His owner Mr Monaghan found Sam at a rescue centre in Cumbria and said that due to his nature, he did not make a good family pet but instead was destined to be a working dog due to his boisterous ways.
Training Sam took two years and although training a dog for a scent is relatively easy for someone experienced, Sams training had to be unique as he is working in historic buildings with priceless artefacts and treasures and he needs to be careful, clean and act appropriately when sniffing out dry rot.
Photo: Newtown Grafitti