Paul Jackson (53) from Durham has type-2 diabetes which means his body can’t process the insulin it needs to keep his blood sugar levels stable. If they fall too far, he could collapse. But Paul is at much less danger of collapsing since he discovered that his dog Tinker ccould warn him about an impending attack enabling him to take evasive action in good time.
At the Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs research centre in Aylesbury, animal trainers are taking this discovery even further. For the last five years, the dogs here have been trained to recognise certain types of cancer by sniffing urine samples – making earlier diagnosis possible. And now, diabetes assistance is their new objective. The charity has 17 rescue dogs at various stages of training which will eventually be paired up with diabetic owners – many of them children. The director of the charity, Claire Guest says that the aim of their work is eventually to have a machine that simulates a dog’s nose, an electronic dog’s nose. Currently however the development of electronic noses is not very advanced and long before electronic dog noses ever become reality, if they ever do, the charity’s dogs will be proudly wearing red jackets to identify themselves as working assistance animals.