BOSTON (CBS) – He’s the newest volunteer at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and he’s the only one with this particular job. A puppy will be trained to sniff out pests that could damage precious artwork and Wednesday he became a full-fledged member of the staff.
“Everybody needs a badge, so I’m going to present Riley his badge today,” says the MFA’s Nicki Luongo as she puts a photo ID around Riley’s neck. And with that the three month old Weimaraner joined the MFA team, and will begin training to protect some of the most valuable artwork in the world.
“His job is going to be to just let us know if there’s any type of pest in the museum we might want to look into or be concerned about,” Luongo says.
That means Riley will learn to sniff out moths and other bugs that could damage textiles or wood.
“If Riley can learn to smell something before we can see it, he can help us investigate and prevent damage to an art object which is an amazing concept to think about,” says Katie Getchell, the museum’s Deputy Director.
The MFA believes Riley will be the first museum dog to do that. His breed is very smart and has a powerful sense of smell, making him the perfect choice. Nicki Luongo is in charge of protective services at the museum. She’s also Riley’s owner and trainer. “I think he’ll be very successful for us,” she says.
It will take months of training to get Riley ready. Don’t expect to see him walking the museum halls, his work will mostly take place behind the scenes.