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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Most Read