A remarkable doggy ‘doctor’ who sniffed out the early signs of cancer on humans has sadly died at the age of 13 after a short illness.
Daisy the fox red Labrador was the star cancer detection dog at the local Medical Detection Dogs charity, where she was owned by co-founder Claire Guess.
She was trained as a puppy to sniff out the smell of disease on urine samples donated by volunteers.
Throughout her life she tested over 6,500 samples and identified correctly more than 550 cases of cancer.
In training trials, she achieved 93 per cent reliability, the highest of all the dogs at the charity’s centre.
Daisy also saved Claire life several years ago. When out for a walk, she nudged persistently at Claire’s chest until Claire decided to get it checked by a doctor.
A scan showed Claire had a deep-seated tumour, which had Daisy not drawn Claire’s attention to it, might well have been missed until it was too late.
In 2014 Daisy was awarded Blue Cross medal for saving lives.
Claire said: “It is with huge sadness that I must announce that medical detection dog Daisy passed away on Monday afternoon after a very short illness.
“Daisy was a beautiful, gentle special dog who has been my lifeline for over 13 years. Her work persuaded many of the possibilities of a revolutionary way to detect cancer. Her legacy will live on in the work of the charity and will lead to advances never thought possible.”
She added: “Daisy saved my life, warning me about my breast cancer six years ago. Sadly, at the end, I could not do the same for her, but I could ensure that she was spared any unnecessary suffering and she is now at peace.
“I want, more than anything for Daisy’s life and contribution to the charity and the saving of human lives to be celebrated and remembered. It will take me some time for me to enjoy happy memories but I am sure that, in time, I will.”
Daisy had been working on a trial into detecting prostate cancer that is due to be completed next year. The team of eight dogs, including Daisy’s niece Florin, will continue her work to develop a cheap, reliable and non-invasive test for prostate cancer that has the potential to save thousands of lives.