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Gun-sniffing Labrador retrievers to leave their mark on U.S. Open

While a dog's impact on humans is often emotional, people often forget that a canine's paw print can save our lives.

This was certainly on the minds of the handlers of about a dozen Labrador retrievers this past week as they were setting up for the upcoming U.S. Open in Pebble Beach, California. The pooches are part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which prepares dogs to sniff for over 19,000 types of deadly weapons.

"We train them to detect from trace amounts to thousands of pounds of explosives," Lauren Marakas, an ATF special agent canine handler and explosives specialist, told the news source.

Sniff dogs may help their two-legged counterparts as much as humans help animals. Pups are often used to find narcotics, and, as recently reported in the news, may be able to detect cancer.

However, Marakas explains that Labrador retrievers have an especially acute olfactory system.

"They're better than any machine out there," she told the news provider. "We smell spaghetti sauce, they smell everything that's in the sauce."
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