Boston Museum Enlists Help From Pest-Sniffing Dog to Protect Art - NBC Connecticut

Boston Museum Enlists Help From Pest-Sniffing Dog to Protect Art

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    Pest Sniffing Puppy on Patrol at MFA

    Riley will be trained to sniff out pests and protect artwork at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018)

    Boston's venerable Museum of Fine Arts has gone to the dogs.

    The museum on Wednesday introduced the newest addition to its staff, a 12-week-old Weimaraner puppy named Riley that will be trained to sniff out insects or other pests that could potentially damage priceless works of art.

    "If Riley can smell something before we can see it, he can help us investigate and prevent damage to an art object," Deputy Director Katie Gretchell said.

    Riley belongs to and will be trained by Nicki Luongo, the museum's director of protective services. She said the dog will be a volunteer and paid in treats. She believes the breed was made for the job.

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    "They have an amazing sense of smell," Luongo said. "He's got a longer nose and longer ears that helps channel that smell into his nose so it really works for him."

    Getchell said that insects are an ongoing concern for museum and there are already existing protocols in place to handle potential infestations. Riley will add another layer and help sniff out pests humans can't see.

    Getchell says she's not aware of another institution using a dog for similar work.

    Riley will be used behind the scenes mostly in conservation and won't be seen by visitors. He does have an official MFA employee badge, but will first need to train for about a year.