What we do 

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Who's a clever dog?

If you thought that man’s best friend was just a dog who liked a good walk, welcomed you home and enjoyed a snooze by the fire, then read on…Members of the Mother’s Union enjoyed a talk by Michael Money from the charity Medical Detection Dogs and learned just how clever all dogs are, but especially those trained to detect potential illnesses as part of scientific research (Bio Detection dogs) and those acting as Alert Assistance dogs in the community.

Michael talked about the early days of the charity founded in Milton Keynes by Dr Claire Guest in 2008 and since when thousands of lives have been saved by early detection of a number of conditions, especially some cancers. There are currently 23 dogs in active work in trials after
undergoing 6-8 months of training. The dogs do not come into contact with patients themselves, but can detect problems through urine
samples.

One such example is testing for prostate cancer which can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, but is much more easily identified by these clever hounds and others are Parkinson’s disease, malaria and certain bacterial infections.

These dogs live in ordinary homes with their caring families and usually work in 20-minute periods over four days a week.
 
Another area supported by the charity is in training Medical Assistance dogs. These are often labradors or spaniels due to their friendly natures and, once trained, live in ordinary homes with their owners. It takes 18 months to 2 years and £29,000 to train an assistance dog and there is a waiting list of at least 12 months for those needing assistance.

Using their amazing sense of smell, dogs can be trained to identify minute odour changes emitted prior to an emergency and alert the person to take preventative action. They are trained to get medical supplies, fetch help or attract attention if their owner has collapsed whether out and about or at home. They are placed with people who have hypo-unaware Type 1 diabetes, Addison's disease, severe allergies or pain seizures and can alert them before they collapse or become unconscious.

Nowadays 20% of placements go to children where they can have life-changing effects – improving confidence and quality of life for all the family, increasing independence and freedom and reducing hospital admissions. These dogs get full public access rights, as do other guide dogs, and save the NHS thousands of pounds.

For more information, or to support this charity see: https://www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/

Helen Bett
 
*We are expecting Jane Richardson, a representative from Barnardo’s, to be with us at the November meeting (Friday 15th November) to receive our gifts for young carers in Leicestershire. Gifts should not be completely wrapped so that those distributing these can allocate them appropriately. Please bring your gifts to the meeting.

Once again Helen is kindly coordinating our tree for S. Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival. The theme is ‘Love came down at Christmas’. We are making small white hearts –if you need instructions contact either Helen or Gilian Beavis.

The Revd Dr Mary Barr will be with us to lead us at our December meeting.  As usual this will be preceded by Christmas Lunch in the café at Mary’s Place for those who would like to participate. Menus at the November meeting.

 

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