Special Report: Doggy detectors
On the Web
Bob and Kathy Looney had a messy mold problem in their basement. They thought they wiped it out, but Kathy couldn't get rid of some serious symptoms, she says were caused by mold.
"My nose is feeling very weepy, and I can feel that my eyes are sore right now. I know that later on they'll be red again," Kathy Looney said.
So, they turned to a different kind of mold detector -- a four-legged one! The sniffing sleuth is Cosmo, a trained mold detection dog.
"Cosmo can smell up behind walls, under floors, [and] ceilings," Joe Tomaselli, of Mold Rover Inc., said.
Tomaselli says Cosmo can sniff out more than 100,000 kinds of mold.
"To him a single tiny, tiny spore of mold smells like a steak and onions cooking to us," Tomaselli said.
So, the curious canine got right to work looking for the musty, the moldy and the stale. When he struck mold gold, Cosmo sits and points his nose to the trouble spot.
"In the house and in the basement, we found it in about 25 different places," Tomaselli said.
Cosmo's owner says this highly skilled nose is not all natural, and it takes a lot of training.
"I use a couple of implements and hidden mold in areas of the garage, and he has to find the mold and alert and show me, and I keep his form," Tomaselli said. "Then, he gets rewarded with his food for the day."
But not everyone buys in to these "Doggy Detectors."
"My experience with mold dogs is not terrific," Gene Marckini, of Boston Environmental & Engineering Assoc. Inc said. "They smell mold, they smell the MVOC, the gases produced by mold. If those gases aren't given off, the dogs don't find the mold."
Still, the Looney's say, without Cosmo, they never would have found the mold that was still hiding in their home.
"It's absolutely amazing that someone has taken that ability in an animal and turned it into such a useful thing for humans," Bob Looney said.
As for the cost, to have your home inspected by a mold-sniffing dog, it's about $250 and up, depending on the square footage of your home.
(Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)