They call her Marni — the Mold Inspector, from the K-9 Division.
Her mission, when she chooses to accept every time (provided there’s a soft salmon treat at the end of it), is to sniff out the dreaded mold or dampness in your home.
A product of the Florida Canine Academy, beautiful two-year-old vizsla (Hungarian hunting dog) Marni is the right-hand man, or woman as it happens, of home inspector Sean Moss.
And she possesses a powerful tool evolved over thousands of years to get the job done — her nose, which is more sensitive than anything in Moss’s equipment locker.
Whenever someone calls in Moss, for example, after a flood or if someone’s having an allergic reaction, he’ll inspect the client’s home, as normal.
But to zoom in on the area where the mold is most likely to be, he’ll call in Marni for back-up, saving the homeowner from ripping down several walls to locate the offending moisture.
“I bring her in as a kind of re-enforcement of what I do and she will usually pinpoint it to within a foot and half or so,” said Moss, who demonstrated for the News how Marni sniffs around and then sits and whimpers when she smells the mold.
“Her breed is well known for its strong sense of smell and I think she’s one of only two dogs in B.C. that’s doing this.
“She’s still young and is still learning, but when she gets her jacket on she knows she’s going to work and she loves it. When she’s not working, she’s an amazing and very friendly family pet.”
Although he had knowledge of similar practices in Sweden, Moss had no idea how perfect Marni’s breed was for the job when his wife finally convinced him to bring a dog into the family.
“My wife wanted a dog purely on looks, cleanliness, very few hairs etc.,” said Moss.
“I agreed, but as long as I was allowed to train her.”
And so, as soon as she was old enough, Marni was packed off to “school” in Florida, where she spent two months of learning her job.
Two weeks of her education was spent with Moss, as both of them honed their mold-finding skills.
“Having her saves a lot of time and a lot of cost for the homeowner and she’s all part of the service,” added Moss.