A company that operates nursing homes in Georgia has partnered with a local nonprofit to staff its senior living centers with dogs that can sniff out COVID-19 with around 95 percent accuracy.

Benton House partnered with Canine Assistants in January after CEO Mike Allard read a news story about the pooches being used at airports, he told industry magazine McKnight’s Senior Living.

The nursing homes operator chose to partner with the nonprofit, which trains service dogs, to provide at least five dogs at its facilities in the Atlanta metro area, the outlet reported.

Marshall, a two-year-old Golden Retriever, is petted by a resident at the Benton House assisted living home

Marshall, a two-year-old Golden Retriever, poses for a photo at the Benton House in Sugar Hill

The exterior of the Benton House nursing home in Sugar Hill is pictured in a Facebook photo

The facility partnered with a local nonprofit to provide coronavirus-screening dogs in Georgia

Nurse Ashley Taylor displays Marshall’s scent-detecting skill at the Georgia nursing home

Nurse Ashley Taylor displays Marshall’s scent-detecting skill at the Georgia nursing home

Nurse Ashley Taylor displays Marshall’s scent-detecting skill at the Georgia nursing home

Allard paid for the dogs to receive training, vaccinations, food and boarding at his facilities.

‘I would love to have them in all of our communities, maybe an industry thing where we have the option available,’ Allard told the outlet. 

Usually, the service dogs are trained to detect things like changes in blood sugar for diabetics, and seizures. Now they have been trained to smell out patients who have coronavirus on sweat samples taken using sterile swabs.

The dogs don’t actually smell for the coronavirus but the scent people create when fighting it off, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 

The program started when the facility in Sugar Hill received a dog named Marshall, who Allard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution would be most helpful to screen staff members arriving for work as well as guests when they’re allowed to visit.    

He told McKnight’s Senior Living that he hopes to eventually have the service dogs trained to also be able to sniff out other conditions like influenza, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and urinary tract infections. 

CEO Mike Allard said he started the program after seeing a news story

DailyMail.com has reached out to Benton House ad Canine Assistants for more information and additional comment on the partnership.

A study last year by researchers from the National Veterinary School of Alfort, France, recruited six dogs previously trained to sniff out other things and re-trained them to detect COVID-19.

Because of their famously acute sense of smell, dogs have been used to root out drugs, explosives and even successfully pick up diseases like colon cancer.

The French scientists have shown man’s best friend can also help save lives during the pandemic by spotting the virus 75 to 100 per cent of the time.

Coronavirus-sniffing dogs have been put into place at airports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Helsinki, Finland, in recent months.

Jennifer Arnold, snuggles Mayberry, a 12-week-old Golden retriever puppy, on her North Georgia training farm

Arnold founded Canine Assistants, a non-profit organization which teaches and provides service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs

Jennifer Arnold holds a patient sweat sample for Cheeto, a one-year-old Golden retriever, whose nose can check for volatile organic compounds present during COVID-19 infection

Arnold is pictured with future medical alert dogs who started the 18-24 month educational process at 5 weeks of age

In January, it was revealed that the Miami Heat would use dogs to screen fans at American Airlines Arena for some games this season.

‘If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,’ said Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president for business strategy. 

‘You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.’ 

 The Heat are believed to be the first professional sports team to use COVID-sniffing dogs to help screen fans attending games, a team spokesman told DailyMail.com.

A Miami Heat fan is pictured entering American Airlines Arena, where he’s sniffed by a dog 



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