At the start of the year I decided I needed to get involved in some kind of personal photography project. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my little dog Coco, and so it was that a friend suggested a charity called Medical Detection Dogs (MDD).
I had never heard of it and knew nothing about what it involved but Sam said she would introduce me to Claire who has a MDD and we could have a chat about what I could do in terms of using my photography. So early in February we met at the Bow Window Coffee Shop in Lenham and over cup of tea chatted about how I could contribute. Its early days and so far we have done 3 different photoshoots which Claire is using on her Blog and the MDD Facebook page to help raise awareness of what these clever dogs are capable of.
Basically Claire herself suffers from Type One Diabetes and needs to test her blood sugars numerous times a day to prevent her suffering a ‘Hypo’ which could lead to her having a seizure and falling unconscious, possibly into a coma. The job her MDD ‘Pal’ does is alert Claire to text her blood before this happens. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and Pal has been trained to recognise a change in odour that means Claire’s blood sugars are dropping dangerously low.
The 3 times I have been with Claire, Pal has alerted her at least once, often more, by ‘pawing’ her and licking her hand. He does not give up until she gets her blood testing kit out and takes a reading, he then gets his reward of a little treat, (this is a biscuit from his daily allowance otherwise he’s end up a pretty fat dog!). I asked Claire what would happen if she wasn’t able to do the test and she said Pal would get very agitated and bark continuously to raise the alarm. If they’re at home and she is alone he has even learnt that if nobody comes he needs to press an alarm button, how smart is that!
Recently I was with Claire at a function when her blood sugars dropped so rapidly that it led to her having a seizure and an ambulance being called as she wasn’t able to take on glucose quickly enough. Thankfully there were people around to help but it brought home to me how invaluable these dogs are in allowing people like Claire to lead relatively normal lives.
Pal goes everywhere with Claire and they are constantly working to raise awareness by visiting schools and taking part in various events. This Sunday 30th April is The Faversham Doggy Day and I shall be there taking photos and helping out so why not come along and say hello.
Dogs are amazing animals and so valuable to our wellbeing whether we suffer from illness or not. Hopefully I’ll be able to help highlight the work the MDD do in not only for people with life threatening illnesses but in how they can also detect cancers.
This year I will donate 10% from every ‘Day In The Life Photoshoot‘ to The Medical Detection Dogs Charity, so why not have a look and Contact me to get a fantastic memory of you and your dog as well as helping a very worthwhile Charity.