Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sasha's News Report

Hello my friends, the weekend is almost here. It has been raining here, so I am a little down, because I haven't been to the park or out for long walks. I got to thinking as I was watching the news recently that big dogs are very nice to look up to. They can do some things that us little squirts have trouble with. Paws up to my big friends out there. Little dogs also have talents, other than circus tricks I mean. We can bark very fiercely and when someone is on the other side of the door, we sound huge. We can get into small spaces, under beds, etc. My Daddy found this cool article in the Milwaukee newspaper. Milwaukee is someplace on the other side of the world where Mom and Dad were born. So I am going to share my post today with a little dog hero. Gracie may not sniff out drugs or track down criminals, but she has a gift and she is doing her part to make the world a better place. Paws up high for Gracie

Gracie is a terrier specially trained to sniff out bedbugs in the city.

Gracie, a 12-pound Parsons Jack Russell terrier, has come to Milwaukee with a mission.
Sure, a lot of canines are trained to sniff out bombs, drugs or dead bodies.
But as the newest member of the Housing Authority's environmental services department, Gracie's job can literally be described as: Don't let the bedbugs bite.
Acquired from a specialized canine training center in Florida for $10,000, Gracie can go to an apartment door and smell if there's a bedbug or live bedbug eggs inside, said Bill Klein, the supervisor of the Housing Authority's environmental services. He introduced the dog Wednesday at the annual meeting of the authority's board. For her public debut, Gracie wore a light blue jacket with an official Housing Authority logo and a uninterested look.
"The dog can find an insect the size of a pinhead and can then get to the spot on the chair or the bed or whatever," he said.
"Bedbugs are a horrible problem all around the world because they are hard to control because they have extreme tolerance to most pesticides," Klein explained in an interview later.
Bedbugs also are hard to detect, he said.
Some people can have an allergic reaction to the bug bites, which can cause them to scratch. In some cases, they can then develop an antibiotic-resistant staph infection that can be "very dangerous," he added.
Bedbugs travel widely and can be picked up on suitcases, in hotels and motels, dorm rooms, day care centers, just about anywhere, he said. "By the time you know you have them, you have a large infestation."
Klein believes Gracie is the only dog in the state doing bedbug duty and the first at a public housing authority. He's rather sure of that because he said he's the only handler listed as passing the certified training in the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association.
Pepe Peruyero, CEO of the J & K Canine Academy in High Springs, Fla, where the housing authority purchased the dog, said in the last 2 1/2 years, some hotels and businesses have started using dogs for bug detection because bedbug outbreaks have reached "epidemic proportions."
He said he knows of no other public housing authority that's done so. "It speaks volumes of the Milwaukee Housing Authority that it's taken the initiative to go above and beyond what any other housing authorities in the country have done to provide services using the latest state-of-the-art technology in the detection of bedbugs," he said.
If the $10,000 price tag seems steep, Klein defends it as an efficient investment in public health. By comparison, dogs trained to track narcotics and as patrol dogs cost also cost about $10,000, which includes the dog, training and certification, said Larry Filo, who coordinates the Fox Valley Technical College canine training program and owns the Steinig TalKennels in Campbellsport.
Gracie's been sniffing out bedbugs for the past month and has gone on more than 150 inspection missions, he said, although he declined to give a bug count.
She's a key element in the authority's "war on bedbugs," he said. "We think it's prudent and cost-effective because it can take five hours or more to go through a unit looking for bedbugs where there are no visual signs."
In all, the Housing Authority oversees 5,300 units of public housing, says executive director Tony Perez. The funds to acquire Gracie came from fees the housing authority has generated, such as developer fees attached to the housing tax credits used to build Convent Hill, and an environmental service contract that the Housing Authority has for City Hall, and other revenue streams the authority has developed to pay for additional services, he said.
"The advantage is that the animal can pinpoint bedbugs without having to go through all the units in a building, or trying to treat a whole building with various methods like raising the temperature in a building to 120 degrees," he said.
For example, bedbugs were found in one chair in a management office in one building and the chair was removed within minutes, he said.
Klein has to constantly keep Gracie up to snuff with her training, which is reinforced three times a day. And he also now has a constant companion, since Gracie lives with him and goes everywhere he goes - even on vacation.
Licks and Sniffs, Sasha


Brunch at Saks said...

Oh Gracie sounds like a sweet and fun dog! Thank you for this post! :) xoxo

Cezar and Léia said...

Hello dear Sasha!
Here it's raining a lot too!
wow What a fabulous story! Thanks for so informative and cool post!
Greetings and purrs from Luxembourg
mommy Léia and Luna

ocmist said...

Poor Sasha... I hope you get to go out soon, but you can play inside to if your Mommy will throw things for you or play tug-a-war.

Still, I'm glad that you got a chance to post about this little dog. There are a lot of things we can do. THAT is why I learned to help my Mom by getting things under desks, etc. so she doesn't have to get down on her knees to get them.

Did you start school yet. You might find it to be a lot of fun because there are always a lot of treats involved when they are teaching you something! OC

Al said...


Rains, rains I hate it. I can't even go out and I get sluggish when it rains I don't know why?

Is there someone out there looking for a baby bird sniffer...I found one again this morning.

Take care Sashy


SquirrelQueen said...

Eww, rain is yucky cause it's water. I can't go outside much either, mom says it over one hundred. I don't know what that means but it sure is hot outside.

Gracie has an important job, she must be really special. She seems very nice.

Miss Cindi Lou Who

Snowy and Crystal said...

Hi Sasha,
thanks for stopping by our bloggie :) we always like to make new friends .. Thanks for sharing Gracie's story.. she is SO good ^_^

yup doggies are pawsome, smart and can take important responsibilities: big AND small =D

Some people say that we are big dogs in tiny bodies

We hope your coming days are bright and sunny :)

We just followed your bloggie so that we can come here to read your upcoming stories and check on your adorable new pictures

Maltese Paws


Dexter said...

We have learned to appreciate doggies of all shapes and sizes thanks to our DWB friends.


Unknown said...

Nuce story Sasha!!!

Historical sites with charmine said...

Sasha,that is very thought provoking writeup.Thanks for keeping us informed, & yes,rains can be bad for some but the grass grows better after the rains and you can ROLL in it.

the magic sleigh said...

Wooo! IMom had heard about Gracie and Dogs like her doing that kind of work. There are a lot of things little dogs can do, at our dog school we even have trained chihuahuas as service dogs! Do not discount yourself because you are small, little dogs can have very big hearts!
-Kira The Beawootiful

Unknown said...

Ginger hates any weather that doesnt involve bright sunshine. For a dog shes sort of a wuss :)

Woodrow, Luna, MJ Campanella said...

congrats to gracie - what a great job - i guess - but she is very important and helpful

Woodrow Sweetie & MJ

Scout and Freyja said...

We saw dogs that do that on Animal Planet. Isn't it cool that we can do so many things no matter how big or small we are? We can lead the blind, find bombs, help the police, find drugs, babysit the family children, go to nursing homes to cheer people and now bed-bugs! WOWZA! The things we can do are amazing!

Mollie Jo and Bobo said...

Cool story! Thanks for sharing.

Size doesn't matter.

-Mollie and Bobo

Anonymous said...

Nice story shasha
I hate rainy days too..
rain make me feel sick!

have a nice day!


The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

I think dogs in general just ROCK!! Thanks for the cool story Sasha!

(Cats are also pretty darn pawesome!)


Lillian Robinson said...

I wish Sadie would get a job. We could use the extra income!

Martine said...

Hi Twin,

thanks for sharing that article your dad found, that's so cool!!!!

We hope the weather gets better... I don't like our sister to be sad.

xo sugar

Oskar said...

At least the weather this afternoon is nice & sunny.

Go Gracie, I think she rocks!

Susan said...

I hope the sun comes shining through for you soon, Sasha!

What an amazing story and an amazing dog! It's so nice to see Gracie getting the recognition she deserves! Bedbug duty -- wooooweeee! Bravo on a fine job, Gracie!
Great things do come in small packages and you're living proof! :)

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Tank woo fur sharing that story!

She's a khool khanine!


Dexter said...

Hey Sasha! I tagged you to play a game. Come and visit my bloggy to see.


Lorenza said...

Hi, Sasha!
Gracie's story is pawesome! Thanks for sharing it!
I hope you have a not rainy weekend!
Kisses and hugs

Denise Taylor said...

How cool. I've never heard of a bed bug sniffing dog. You are always so informative. Love the new background on your page =)

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Sasha
That is a cool story. I agree with you- that there are many things that little dogs are great for. This is wonderful the little dog is getting recognized!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

That is a great story about Gracie!!! With the worldwide menace of bedbugs, she has one fantastic skill. Thank you for sharing the wonder of this little pup.
Tail wags, the OP Pack

Taffy said...

Great news report! Gracie is pawesome...my mom is a little grossed out by the whole bedbugs thing though. I hate rain too!
Love and hugs,