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The Miami Heat test dog solutions to the COVID dilemma

The Miami Heat have come up with a unique solution to getting fans back into its arena: COVID-sniffing dogs.

The dilemma between the resumption of business and public safety within a pandemic is quite the toss-up. The Miami Heat have sold out 451 consecutive games, which ranks them sixth all-time in that category.

Recently, the team announced that in order to reopen and sell at a limited capacity (2,000 patrons max), it will deploy COVID K-9 detection dogs. 

Why dogs for the Miami Heat?

Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell and were first sprung into COVID detection action in Helsinki, Finland (UNRIC).

Here is a basic rundown of how man’s best friend can be of great assistance during these trying times.

Trained scent detection K-9’s require a 6-8 week course. And still, K-9’s who have never gone through scent detection training require a 3-6 month training course.

These extensive programs hone in on the volatile organic compounds (sweat samples) emitted through our bodies.

How the walkthrough for a Miami Heat fan works

Now let’s run through a hypothetical stadium entrance encounter. A Miami Heat fan strolls through the front gate – preferably rocking that Tres Tres Alonzo Mourning jersey – with their mask on.

The dog will then approach and sniff. If the pup continues to sniff, you are good. But, if the dog never sniffs and sits next to a person, it has detected the virus through a pathogen-specific odor. 

Young man seen donning a Miami Heat ‘Vice City’ Tyler Herro jersey shows mild concern as a K-9 prances toward him. (Credit: CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

All Miami Heat attendees must wear a KN95, N95, CLOTH, or SURGICAL mask to combat covid-19.

Bandanas, Ventilator Masks and Gaitors are considered unacceptable.

Once you are granted entry, proper physical distancing and demeanor is encouraged. Meaning there are only water and soft drinks allowed at your seat.

Food and alcoholic beverages are to be consumed on the East Plaza and no cash is accepted. Furthermore, if you are feeling ill, there are isolation rooms available on sight.

Sounds very similar also to the discipline instituted within the Miami Heat conditioning program.

Specially trained pooches sit at attention on the prowl for airborne pathogens

Innovative solutions like this should inspire hope for the future

What is so key about this development is the forward-thinking nature. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be solution-minded to solve problems.

Dogs are specifically proactive as they are unable to replicate the virus and can detect an asymptomatic individual. 

They are also known to utilize their use of smell to warn authorities about hypoglycemia in diabetic individuals, potential seizures in epileptic individuals, and even some cancers. 

It is known that the novel coronavirus changes the metabolic body processes of the human body, and thus dogs are being trained to detect the release of this signature scent. So bravo to K-9’s and the Miami Heat for working hard to bring some normalcy down to South Beach.