Meet Emily Chapman and her Australian Shepherd, Will. Emily and Will are members of The Dog Project’s Foxtrot group. More importantly, Will is also our newest MRI Dog!
Emily worked diligently for several months to condition Will to the MRI variables of the steps, enclosure, noise, and vibrations. Concurrently, Emily shaped Will to perform a motionless down-stay within a Dog Star Technologies chinrest inserted within a Siemens human neck coil. By the time Emily and The Dog Project Team chained all the requisite behaviors, Will calmly wore earplugs and a Vetrap® head covering, traversed narrow steps absent of walls or railings, walked across a narrow raised platform, entered a confined MRI bore enclosure, laid motionless within the coil and chinrest (to prevent noise artefacts dogs can not move more than 2mm within any spatial plane), withstood 96dB noise that covered a variety of frequencies, persevered through the accompanying vibrations that generated the noise, and remained still for trial repetitions of up to 26 seconds. Moreover, once inside the Siemens 3T Trio Scanner Will consistently performed 4 experimental runs, with short breaks between each run.
Will and our entire MRI Team are exceptional dogs accompanied by notably dedicated owners. Yet, what is most satisfying is the joy the dogs and people exhibit preparing for their MRI day. As you can clearly see from Will’s photo, our MRI Dogs love their work!