Sniffing out trouble
The charity Medical Detection Dogs shows how dogs can help humans deal with their illnesses
- By: Sally Carter
“I’ve always been a dog person. My mum and dad remember taking me to church in a pushchair and as soon as I saw a dog, especially a spotty one, I went green with excitement,” said Claire Guest, co-founder and chief executive of the charity Medical Detection Dogs (http://medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/).
“For me it started 20 years ago when a colleague of mine had a dog that warned her of a malignant melanoma on her calf when he kept licking and sniffing this mole,” Later, in 1996, she heard John Church, a doctor who had sent in some anecdotal stories about dogs sniffing out cancer to the Lancet,1 do an interview on the radio. He asked anyone who felt capable of training a cancer dog to get in touch. Claire Guest did. They worked with researchers at Buckinghamshire NHS Trust and published their study in the BMJ in 2004.2