Maine potato farmers might have a quicker way to protect their crops from dangerous diseases, thanks to a passionate dog trainer and her charges. As Melissa Lizotte reports for Bangor Daily News, when she first heard that no one had ever taught dogs to detect potato diseases through careful, odor-based training, Sanford native Andrea Parish decided to become the first to do it.
“I knew that if dogs could detect bombs, drugs, cancer or COVID, they could detect anything,” Parish said.
Parish has traveled to at least a few dozen farms from Oregon to Maine to demonstrate how dogs can stiff and detect all three strains of potato virus Y as well as bacterial ring rot. Through her connections with agricultural researchers and growers, she has also allowed farmers to send potato samples to her for her dogs to test.
Parish visited the Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle Tuesday to demonstrate the skills of her 3-year-old black Lab Zora. After Parish set up potato samples, Zora accurately detected the potato virus Y variety every time Parish placed it in a different spot.
A former physical therapist, Parish is now the owner of ‘Nose Knows Something‘, which trains dogs to detect potato diseases.