Duchess of Cornwall to open new training centre for Medical Detection Dogs

A medical detection dog
A medical detection dog

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is opening the new training centre for Great Horwood based charity Medical Detection Dogs today (Wednesday).

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been patron of the charity since 2014.

During today's visit she is expected to meet a number of Medical Detection Dogs clients, puppy socialisers, other volunteers and people who have helped the charity fund the new building.

There will be a guard of honour made up of a number of dogs the charity is training and one of them, Tala, will present the Duchess with the scissors to cut the ribbon.

Behavioural psychologist Dr Claire Guest and former orthopaedic surgeon Dr John Church, who co-founded Medical Detection Dogs in 2008, were convinced from the start that dogs could be trained to detect the odour of human cancer and other diseases.

Dr Guest, chief executive and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Duchess of Cornwall, a committed patron and supporter of our work, for coming to open our new training and research centre.

“It is unbelievable to think that just over ten years on from our foundation, and as the benefactors of immense generosity from countless people, we are able to improve our outreach by conducting more research, training more dogs and saving more lives.”

Medical Detection Dogs is entirely supported by donations from the public and benefactors and the charity is now training specialist dogs to detect the odour of many human diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and malaria.

The charity also collaborates with other researchers, NHS trusts and universities internationally to advance the early diagnosis of disease.

The charity's new training centre has been purpose-built to provide space for the puppy socialising department which makes sure the charity has enough dogs to train as future assistance dogs and bio detection dogs.

It also includes space for a medical alert assistance dog team who support applicants for medical alert assistance dogs through the process of matching them with a dog and the instructors who train those dogs to save the lives of clients.

The training centre has two purpose-built client rooms where applicants can be assessed and matched with their dogs in a more relaxing and suitable environment that has been designed to meet their specific healthcare needs.

The charity has a no kennel policy and the building also includes a number of training and presentation spaces which help with potential applicant awareness days and training for the dogs and the volunteers who care for them.