Sniffer dog with difference has good nose for diabetes

Steven Courtney with Molly

Steven Courtney with Molly

First published in News
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AN “amazing” dog who acts as a vital health alert system for her young owner has been nominated for a prestigious Crufts award.

Three-year-old Cocker Spaniel Molly, known in the competition as Molls, is one of five finalists in the Friends for Life award at Crufts 2014.

Her owner Steven Courtney, 11, has type 1 diabetes and Molls has become a third set of eyes in detecting danger for Steven’s parents Serena and Paul.

Trained by charity Medical Detection Dogs, Molls can identify changes in Steven’s glucose levels by smell and will alert him by licking his hand, jumping up or fetching his glucose test kit.

Molls, originally bought as a pet, has also given Steven more freedom to play sports – she can even tell from all the way across a football pitch if his glucose levels change.

Previously Mrs Courtney had to constantly check Steven’s levels when he was playing football, but Molls has taken over.

Now the Courtney family, of Merton Road, Ambrosden, near Bicester, are urging the rest of Oxfordshire to get behind them and vote for Molls to win the award.

Former teacher Mrs Courtney, 40, said: “She has an amazing bond with Steven and works every day helping with his blood glucose.

“She makes a massive difference to us and she does that job every day.

“Having Molls has changed our lives as a family.

“Steven is so much calmer and more relaxed and the bond they share is incredible.

“We feel so much better knowing that she is around to look out for her best friend.

“It’s a lot more relaxed household as we are not constantly on edge thinking ‘should we test his levels’.”

Nominated by Medical Detection Dogs, Molls spent more than a year being trained. Mrs Courtney said: “She qualified over a year ago and has gone from strength to strength.

“She has amazed us with just what she is capable of doing.

“He can be upstairs doing his homework and she can be downstairs and she will bring me the (glucose) meter.”

The Oxford Times:

Molly with the dogs she will be up against for the prize

Molls will alert the family to test Steven’s glucose levels almost on a daily basis.

At night she sleeps in Steven’s bedroom and if she senses a problem, barks a warning and then paces the landing to wake his parents.

Both Steven and younger brother Charlie, seven, are very “proud” of Molls reaching the finals.

Steven, a pupil at Five Acres Primary School, Ambrosden, said: “She’s helped me be more confident because I’m not worrying about my diabetes. I’m very proud of Molly.”

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “The dogs that have made the final of the Crufts Friends for Life competition are all truly inspirational and demonstrate just how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us.”

The winner of the Friends for Life award, who will receive £1,500 to be donated to a charity of their choice, will be presented with the award on Sunday, March 9, on the final night of Crufts at the Birmingham NEC.

The show will be broadcast on Channel 4.

  • To vote for Steven and Molls, who are supporting Medical Detection Dogs, call 0844 646 0201.
  • For more information about the work of the charity, visit medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk

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