Charity seeks volunteers to take a puppy home with them in Milton Keynes
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MK-based Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to use their amazing sense of smell to sniff out human diseases including cancer, Parkinson’s, malaria.
The charity has recently started a project to determine whether its dogs can smell Covid-19, which could be a game-changer during a second wave of the virus.
They also train special Medical Alert Assistance Dogs to work with individuals with complex health conditions such as Type 1 diabetes and severe allergies.
The clever canines, by detecting a change in a person's smell, can give their human a five to 10 minute warning that a medical crisis is about to happen. This can frequently prevent injury, emergency service call-outs and hospital admissions, as well increasing the person's independence and confidence.
The demand for the dogs is high and the charity is constantly training new ones.
But they have a strict 'no kennel policy' and need people to look after the young dogs in a home environment while they are being trained.
Claire Baker, the charity's volunteer manager, said: "We are proud to have a no kennel policy and it is very important to us that our dogs live in a loving home environment before being partnered with a client or work as a Bio Detection dog.
"Without the help of our wonderful volunteer puppy and dog socialisers and fosterers we wouldn’t be able to train our life-saving dogs. This unique role involves attending regular puppy classes, following positive dog training methods and taking the dog to visit lots of different environments. You will need to be at home most of the day and live within an hour of Great Horwood."
Cindy Baynes has been a socialiser with the charity since 2017. She said: “When asked what I get out of my role as an MDD socialiser, the first thing that comes to mind is the friendships I have made. I find a happy camaraderie amongst the socialisers who are all there to support each other, enjoy walks together and share stories at training sessions."
She added: "I am so proud to represent the charity. People will often stop and ask me questions about our dogs but I never tire of telling everyone about our amazing and life changing work.
The dogs I socialise always remain an MDD Dog. One question I am often asked is how difficult is it to give a dog back? I explain that I didn’t go into it to get a dog of my own. I went into it to give a dog a happy home whilst training it to go on to make such a difference to someone’s life.
"When I see a dog progress I feel so good about the impact I have had on it. It is a huge commitment and takes up a great deal of my time but the joy I get both from the companionship of a beautiful dog and knowing what the dog will go on to do is incredibly rewarding.
"I am keen to keep volunteering as long as my health allows. I look forward to all the future dogs that I will get to know and play a part in developing it into a dog that will save someone’s life. I can think of no better way to spend my time. “
If you might be interested in socialising a puppy or young, contact Claire Baker on 01296 655888 or email [email protected] .