By Dr. Jeff Castle
7:55 PM EST, January 4, 2013
Dear President Obama,
I have never held a governmental job nor have I held any public office of any kind. I have simply studied and worked my entire life to better the lives of animals. For 15 years I practiced in mixed animal practices, which included caring for all kinds of large and small animals. Daily, I would care for cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs and occasionally birds. For the past eight years, I have concentrated all my professional efforts taking care of only small animals.
The point is that I am just like every other American trying to make a living, make a difference in someone’s life, and enjoy life all at the same time. Therefore, when a national problem arises that makes most Americans “bad mouth” the efforts of our government, I can’t help trying to mentally approach the situation with common sense.
I do realize that most national problems are extremely complicated and simple solutions aren’t available for most situations. Hopefully, you do realize how commonplace it is for most Americans, including the most patriotic ones, to rant and rave negatively about how our government handles each and every crisis.
I don’t have any experience solving our country’s problems. This just happens to be the one time that I feel my knowledge of my profession coupled with a common sense approach may have truly stumbled on to a solution for an extremely serious national problem.
Not long ago, I proposed and advocated the use of an army of trained canines to solve the ongoing issues with airport security. Dogs have unbelievable senses of hearing and smelling. Why couldn’t dogs be used at airports on an extremely large scale to sniff out explosives and weapons in addition to drugs?
Now, with the recent debate over how our country should solve the problem of mass shootings, I couldn’t stop thinking about how our amazing “man’s best friend” could lend a hand, or nose and ears. Certainly, dogs could prove to be a unique solution for schools that are understandably on edge after the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Government officials and politicians are currently fiercely debating gun control as well as other problematic reasons for the nearly epidemic problem of mass shootings. The solution is right under your noses! Actually, the solution is right under a dog’s nose. The solution would not take years to incorporate and it would actually raise employment for security companies or school systems. Each and every dog would require a handler, but they would not necessarily have to be an expert dog trainer. They would simply be trained how to handle the dog and what to watch for when a dog alerts them.
Dogs have an extraordinary and amazing sense of smell. Dogs have a sense of smell about 200 times greater than humans. It would not be unreasonable to train hundreds or thousands of dogs to detect explosives and weapons, as well as unusual sounds, occurring on the premises. One dog along with the dog handler could be present at each and every school in the country.
They would be present while students enter and leave the building and patrol around the school throughout the school day. The dog would be able to smell a firearm tucked away in a backpack or hidden on the perpetrator. In a present day Norman Rockwell painting, the stereotypical school crossing guard would be replaced by a canine handler guard with his trusty sidekick “Fido” wearing a uniform complete with a badge, standing at the entrance of the apparently perfect elementary school.
The beauty of a canine security task force is that countless dogs from animal shelters could be rescued from certain death all while providing an awesome sense of security and safety for all Americans, especially our children. It would truly be a win-win situation. I imagine schools in the future with the canine sniff screening corridor as part of the typical architecture. Then, anyone suspicious would be required to undergo further examination.
Since dogs have this wonderful talent, listen when they bark and pay attention to how alert they become when a change in their environment occurs. Marlo, our yappy Yorkie, barks all the time for no good reason. However, if Jazz, our geriatric Golden retriever, barks, then we know immediately that someone is coming.
Please take good care of your pets and if you have any concern about their health, contact your veterinarian so they may live a long, healthy and happy life.