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Why Is This Dog Wearing a Beekeeping Suit?

What you should be asking is for a list of all the things that Bazz (and dogs in general) can sniff out.

 |  Jul 11th 2013  |   5 Contributions


You're probably wondering why Josh Kennett would need to put his dog Bazz in a beekeeping suit, but that's easy: so the dog doesn't get stung by bees. 

A better question might be: WTF, Josh Kennett?

Indeed, this is a weird one, but it's not all that crazy when you consider, once again, what an incredible thing a dog's nose is. It can sniff out drugs, cancer, low blood sugar, a bee disease known as American foulbrood, explosives, survivors in rubble, termites -- wait, what's that bee one again?

American foulbrood. According to Psychology Today, "It is caused by bacteria that form microscopic spores that can survive for decades and can spread quickly from hive to hive, killing all of the bee larvae."

If the infection is caught early, the hive can be treated with antibiotics. If not, the hive must be destroyed, along with any equipment that came into contact with it.

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That's bad news, so, in the 1970s, pioneering scientists in Maryland trained a dog to sniff out the disease, and the practice has caught on since then. Inspections, however, usually take place in the fall and winter, when the cold significantly reduces bee activity, keeping the dog from getting stung. 

Josh Kennett doesn't have that luxury. He's a beekeeper in Tintinara in South Australia, where winters aren't very chilly. 

So, after much trial and error, according to ABC Australia, he went and made his dog a beekeeping suit. And not just any beekeeping suit, but the most kick-ass beekeeping suit ever conceived. This thing is straight out of a superhero ninja dog beekeeper comic book. 

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Photo by Josh Kennett

The only problem: Bazz doesn't feel much like a superhero ninja when he's wearing this freaky thing. But I bet even Superman had a rough couple of days after getting his suit made by his Aunt Margot. (I have no idea who made Superman's suit.) 

"The only challenge now is getting the dog comfortable with the suit. It's hard to change a dog's habits overnight," Kennett told ABC Australia. "To fully cover a dog up and expect it to do the same thing, it takes time to change how he behaves and to get used to that suit."

Don't worry, the dog is a pro, having received ample training first from a detection dog trainer, who regularly trains dogs for explosives and drugs, and then from Kennett, who trained Bazz to work with hives. They're talking it slow. 

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Photo by Josh Kennett

"Yeah, it does look quite funny," Kennett said in an audio interview, "but it seems to work."

Via ABC Australia

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