A dog which can smell changes in blood sugar has transformed the life of a 12-year-old boy and his family.
Steven Courtney, aged 12, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three.
Steven, from Ambrosden, used to have no warning when his blood sugar is becoming dangerously high or low, putting his life at risk.
Molly, the family’s four-year-old cocker spaniel, has been trained by Medical Detection Dogs to be Steven’s diabetes alert dog.
Using their incredible sense of smell, dogs can detect fluctuations in their owner’s blood sugar and give an alert before the situation becomes life threatening.
After Molly began alerting of her own accord when she was just six months old, she was accepted for training by the Great Horwood charity.
Whenever she scents the danger signs – which canbe up to several times in a day – Molly alerts Steven by jumping up and poking him with her nose, then goes and fetches his blood glucose monitor.
It’s made a huge difference to parents Paul and Serena, who used to set an alarm and get up every two hours in the night to check on Steven.
Now Molly has taken over night duties, sleeping on Steven’s bed.
Serena said: “Since we had Molly, I only get up if she alerts. She gives a bark and gets the meter and she greets me on the landing with it.”
Molly has also been trained to behave in public so she can accompany Steven wherever he goes, including shops and restaurants, wearing her assistance dog coat.
Serena said: “When we put that coat on, she knows she’s at work. But it hasn’t changed her personality at all. At home she’s cheeky and loves to run around and play.”
And Mollys sensitive nose can even detect the danger signs from the sidelines when Steven is playing football with Grendon Rangers.
“She really is our little guardian angel,” said Serena.