Dog trained to sniff out COVID-19 becomes therapy dog at senior living community

An 18-month-old golden retriever named Ivory has a new full-time job making people happy.


Kansas City is home to a specially trained therapy dog whose skills were put to the test during the pandemic. She was trained to sniff out COVID-19. She's got a new job, but is still ready for duty.

She's an 18-month-old golden retriever named Ivory who has a full-time job making people happy. She's the new therapy dog at Benton House Senior Living Communities in Kansas City. With only three weeks on the job, residents have fallen in love.

Ivory is definitely changing lives here. But she also has a career saving lives. At the height of the pandemic, she was trained to sniff out COVID-19, identifying residents who had the virus. Thanks to vaccinations and lower positivity rates, she's now transitioned into this new role.

"It's been a hard year getting through COVID, and having something lovable and touchable and squeezable like Ivory is very much a help," said Bonnie Smith, of Benton House Senior Living Communities.

Ivory will continue bringing smiles for now. But with COVID-19 variants on the rise, she might be called back to her COVID-19 career.

"With what we're seeing right now, especially in the Missouri area, I fully expect we're going to be using her nose again pretty quickly," Smith said.

In the meantime, she's found a home here.

"I don't know what we did before we got her. She is so sweet," one resident said.