A nine-week-old puppy which is training to detect cancer is following in his aunt’s paw steps.
Fox red Labrador Flint has joined Medical Detection Dogs and will soon be able to recognise the odour of volatiles in the urine of patients with cancer.
His aunt Daisy is one of the centre’s most accurate detectors with nine years of experience.
But the centre, which has 15 cancer detection dogs, is hoping Flint can take over from his aunt once he is fully trained next year.
Flint is honing his skills at the centre in Great Horwood while being looked after by the charity’s client support manager Simone Brainch.
She said: “Some things happen for a reason. Daisy will be hanging up her ‘detection shoes’ soon and we think Flint will be taking over.
“They love the training, it’s very exciting and they get rewards.”
Handlers will first teach Flint to associate the smell of urine with receiving a reward, commonly a biscuit or a tennis ball.
Rewards are then limited to when they identify urine samples which contain cancer volatiles.
The charity’s CEO Dr Claire Guest, who looks after Daisy, said: “We are delighted to have Flint join our team – he is extremely focused and has tremendous potential.
“It is incredible what these dogs can achieve in a relatively short space of time.
“How we failed to recognise their capacity to detect disease all these years that we have lived and worked alongside them is a wonder to me.
“As for Flint, we hope he will become as accurate a detector of cancer volatiles as his aunt, Daisy, who has done much to advance our research.”