Saturday, November 13, 2010

POGO Mold Scent Detection Dog

MOLD DOG INTRO:  In 2003, we knew it was time to add mold inspections to our construction business due to our family’s personal experience with water issues and unseen toxic mold.  Our biggest desire was to add a Mold Scent Detection Dog to our 20 -year "Stoneridge Construction and Water Restoration business.
VISUAL MOLD:  Toxic mold made our family of 5 all severely ill and the disaster and clean-up businesses in the valley didn’t know how to solve our unseen problem.  We met with the Idaho Chapter of The Red Cross and found that many families were displaced due to a water or mold event.  We were stunned.  From 1995-2001, The EPA was getting calls and letters about visual mold with occupants’ similar health symptoms.  Here in Idaho, no one, including people in my business, had ever heard the term, toxic mold.  Of course we knew what mold was, and we had none in our home…… or so we thought...........
HIDDEN MOLD:  You can visualize what mold may look like if it is, say, in a shower.  But what about a home that had a past water event that triggered a fungal growth cycle, but is now no longer wet or active?  This is one form of “hidden mold”.  There are many properties right here in Idaho that have seasonal water intrusion and then dry out when a rainstorm passes, for example.   I know of several companies that market their thermal imaging instrument to find wet areas.  Having this instrument myself, I know that the reading will show higher moisture areas as a temperature variance, but what do they do when the mold has gone dormant? (It is still on the structure and with minimal airflow can move into the living space of a home).  When the moisture returns in that area THEN the mold starts growing again.  Often this is inside of an exterior wall that one can’t tell is there until they have physical or structural symptoms.  
Mold Scent Detection Dog:  This is where my awesome Mold Scent Detection Dog, named POGO, comes in!  He has the ability to signal on live AND dormant mold spores that are hidden to all other forms of inspection tools.  As with many detective dogs, Pogo is a rescue dog, that was due to be euthanized. But now, instead, he LOVES to work and not only was his life saved, but now his mission is to save lives.  He passed the 1000 hours of training to prepare him to search for hidden mold in both residential and commercial buildings.  After meeting POGO he was perfect for our business and our family!  The toxic mold in our very first home was in the HVAC System blowing microbial spores throughout the entire house.  Pogo would've saved us years of ill health and triggering autoimmune diseases.  After Pogo passed his 1000 hours, then I had to pass the certification courses to become a certified dog handler.  Then, most importantly, the two of us became Idaho's first and only Certified Mold Scent Detection Dog Team. 
 There are about 50 mold dogs operating in the United States that I am aware of (not all rescue dogs pass the training).  But Pogo is trained and responds to mold in a similar fashion to the bomb and drug dogs that you most likely have seen.  He will signal to 100 hundred known strains of mold that are found in Idaho and the Northwest.  Each dog is trained on the molds for the specific area he will be working in.  Pogo is definitely a valuable asset to our business and, people who love dogs, love him even more for finding hidden causes for their health issues in their home.  He's definitely earned "Dan's Best Friend"......I'll get some recent photos of him on here.