From Iceland — Former First Lady Says Her Cloned Dog Can Detect COVID-19

Former First Lady Says Her Cloned Dog Can Detect COVID-19

Published June 22, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
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Dorrit Moussaieff, wife of former president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, has brought her dog Samson to Iceland, who she says can detect COVID-19.

The former First Lady made waves in Iceland last year when she cloned her dog, Sámur. The former first pet passed away early last year, and the former first family decided to have their beloved dog cloned.

Dorrit told RÚV that Samson is much more child-friendly than Sámur was. She also said that he has a supernatural sense of smell, and like many other dogs, can detect people infected with the novel coronavirus.

There does seem to be some precedent for virus-sniffing dogs. Attempts have been made at the University Hospital of Pennsylvania to use dogs in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic. Already, seven dogs have been trained there to detect those who carry the virus. Dorrit wants to train Samson in the same way.

“I want to train him to sniff out COVID,” she said. “Samson’s sense of smell is very good. Experts have looked into it. I hope that if this works, it can benefit Iceland. When the quarantine is over, we will do further experiments and research with this. I just hope I’m strong enough to wait these two weeks.”

Samson was born in October last year, and the former first family officially welcomed him into their home in December while staying in the US. Then Dorrit traveled abroad, first to England, then to Iceland. In the course of her travels, she contracted the virus and was separated from her beloved dog for a time.

“I intended to return to the United States immediately, but it was not possible,” she said. “But he was in a very good place where he was trained and raised with other dogs and also kids. Sámur was not very good with kids.”

In May, she was allowed to return to the United States and reunite with Samson. She decided to bring him back to Iceland. In accordance with current animal importation laws, he must be in quarantine for two weeks. Dorrit said she has trouble being away from Samson. She woke up yesterday morning thinking she should have taken him to London where she could have him with her. Soon, though, the two will be reunited, although it is yet to be determined whether he will be put on the job to sniff out viruses.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

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