Bugged by bedbugs? A new four-legged, furry weapon is being unleashed to keep the pesky insects from infesting a southeast Iowa motel. Gordon Olberding, owner of the Hawkeye Motel in Washington, says he’s never had a problem with the pests and likely won’t, especially now that he’s employing a bedbug-sniffing dog.

“I claim to be the only motel in the United States to own their own motel dog and check their rooms daily for bed bugs by canine,” Olberding explains. In December, Olberding became a certified dog handler. He and his Jack Russell Terrier, Jackson, check every one of the hotel’s 22 rooms on a daily basis as a preventative measure.

“We have a routine where we start at one point and go clear around the room and onto the chair, onto the bed and through the bathroom,” he says. Olberding has a certificate to prove that Jackson is a certified bed bug-detecting dog and that he’s a certified handler. He says his hound is compensated for his detective work.

“He has to work at least twice a day to get fed,” Olberding says. “He doesn’t eat from a bowl, he has to eat from my hand. He has to look for bedbugs to get fed. Look over here, c’mon, seek!” In recent weeks, Olberding has started promoting Jackson with a lighted banner and radio ads, making the dog something of a local celebrity.

By Mark Carlson, KCRG, Cedar Rapids