A charity which trains man’s best friend to sniff out cancers and life-threatening medical conditions in humans has been handed a £33,200 windfall thanks to an Enfield care home for the elderly.
No wonder Simba the life-saving Labarador’s tail was wagging when he and his owner Carolyn Gatenby visited the Springview care home in Crescent Road last Wednesday.
The pair were there on behalf of the Medical Detection Dogs Charity to receive a cheque for £11,200, which was the proceeds of the fund-raising activities of the home’s residents, staff and volunteers.
But in addition to that amount, an anonymous donation of £22,000 was made by the friend of a resident of the care home, who, acting as as executor of a will, had been instructed to bequeath a sum to worthy causes.
Kathy Dunn, reception manager at Springview, who helped organised a range of fund-raising activities with volunteers including fetes, quizzes and tombolas, described what the dogs are trained to do as “amazing”
Simba is trained to sniff out the smallest changes in her blood sugar levels of his 56-year-old owner and alert Carolyn to take her insulin.
If a diabetic’s blood sugar level is low they can have a seizure or lapse into a coma.
The dogs are trained to alert owners by jumping up or licking them.
Residents, staff and volunteers at the home were able to witness that first hand when Carolyn’s blood sugar level dropped and Simba gave her a timely reminder she needed her insulin.
Dogs are also trained to detect symptoms of nut allergies, Addison’s disease and PoTS which is the abnormal functioning of the involuntary nervous system, while specially trained Bio-Detection dogs sniff out cancer.
Before Simba was placed with Carolyn it was difficult for her to leave the house because she required regular insulin.
“She had no life prior to getting the dog,” explained Kathy.
“It’s nice to know our fundraising efforts will help change others lives. It’s quite humbling.” she added.