Cancer-sniffing dog trainer speaks in Lower Mainland

Cancer-sniffing dog trainer speaks in Lower Mainland

Woman coming to Langley hoping to start non-profit organization for cancer-sniffing dogs

By Bob Groeneveld/Langley Advance Times

.

Dogs’ sense of smell is legendary.

The average dog has more than 50 times as many odour receptors in their nose than the average human.

And the part of the brain devoted to smell is about 40 times as large in dogs’ brains.

It has been estimated that their sense of smell is at least 10,000 times – and maybe as much as 100,000 times – as sensitive as ours.

Dogs have been used to sniff out the trails of everything from foxes to fugitives.

At airports and other public places they are used to sniff out drugs and minute amounts of explosives – even trace amounts of some of the chemicals used to make drugs and explosives.

Dogs have been trained to sniff for medical conditions in people. Some can detect diabetes in a person before blood tests show its presence.

Recently, there has been mounting scientific evidence that some dogs can smell certain kinds of cancer.

Ariel Verge is coming to Langley from her home in Clearwater, B.C., to talk about how dogs might be trained to save lives by sniffing out cancerous cells.

She’ll lead two sessions about Cancer Sniffing Dogs of Canada’s Call to Action Campaign, to share awareness about the science of cancer detection by dogs, and to find people willing to build a non-profit organization to promote training and using dogs to help people with cancer.

She’ll be speaking on Sunday, April 14, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and on Tuesday, April 16, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Both sessions will be at the Church in the Valley, 23589 Old Yale Road.

Verge is a certified dog trainer and runs Verge of Dawn Canine Training.

In November 2016 she was the first Canadian student to attend the second-ever course held by the In Situ Foundation, which created the first medical protocol for selection, training and handling of a medical scent detection dog.

Her official certification is Bio-Dog Medical Scent Detection Trainer.

“I really got started in this because of my Aunt Millie McConnell, a 16 year stomach cancer survivor,” she said. “I love training dogs, it is something that comes naturally to me and makes me feel alive. I was blown away with the ability of a dog’s nose and the multitude of ways that they could help people, and I was drawn immediately to the idea of cancer detection.”

Her immediate interest is in stomach cancer: “I would really like to give a viable screening method for the type of cancer that is still causing [her aunt] pain even today, because of her mentorship work.”

But she believes promoting general awareness of what dogs can do in the field of cancer detection will help get her there.

“In 2016 I came back from school, certified and with a lot of big ideas on what Cancer Sniffing Dogs of Canada could become,” she said. “In 2017 I began the Awareness Campaign to spread the news of their abilities and the potential they offered.”

Just Posted

CubicFarms have announced the addition of Janet Wood to its board of directors. (Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows/ Langley grow tech business names new member to board of directors

Janet Wood will join the agricultural firm after a brief stint as pres and CEO of Science World

Pitt Meadows residents can take part in a free online emergency preparedness presentation on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Sign up in advance. (Pitt Meadows graphic)
Pitt Meadows presentation helps residents prep for emergencies

People can sign up in advance for the Tuesday event

Pitt Meadows fire chief Mike Larsson said a quick-thinking neighbour helped keep a utility trailer fire from causing serious damage to a residence (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News file)
Neighbour with garden hose helped save Pitt Meadows home

Helped to prevent fire in trailer from spreading to nearby house

Kanaka Creek Regional Park. (Metro Vancouver/Special to The News)
Visiting parks is good for your health, says UBC study

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows many parks provide opportunities

A 49-year-old man from Coquitlam died after he was hit by a dump truck near Airport Way and Harris Road on Saturday, May 15. (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
VIDEO: Pedestrian dies after being hit by dump truck in Pitt Meadows Saturday afternoon

Man was walking his bicycle across the road near Airport Way and Harris Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
Wildfire near Harrison Mills grows to 3 hectares, BC Fire Service on site

Resident near wildfire: ‘I pray that the Creator brings rain as soon as possible’

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read