9 Oct 2015

Cleo sniffs out romantic gesture

1:03 pm on 9 October 2015

Roses are red, but romance is dead ... if a sniffer dog spots it.

Cleo, detector beagle

Cleo has a nose for romance Photo: Supplied

The Ministry of Primary Industries said one of its detector beagles at the International Mail Centre in Auckland took a particular interest in an envelope while scanning letter trays last month.

It said the dog, called Cleo, stuck her nose right on the letter, and started wagging her tail like crazy.

The envelope contained a love letter from Australia and some scarlet rose petals.

The rose petal-strewn love letter that Cleo detected

Photo: Supplied

The Ministry said staff had to remove the petals, as New Zealand's strict import rules forbid fresh roses from entering the country.

As well as a being universal symbol of romantic love, roses can also harbour plant diseases or make a convenient hiding place for hitchhiking insects.

MPI said staff did not want the intended recipient to miss out on the romantic gesture, so sent a photo of the petals, and a letter outlining the importer's options - having the flowers sent back to the sender, treated or destroyed.