We recently caught up with bio detection trainer, Mark Doggett, and malaria detection dog Freya from the charity ‘Medical Detection Dogs’.
Mark filled us in on what a typical day could entail.
‘As a bio detection dog trainer my day starts with welcoming dogs from our fosterers who drop them to work in the morning. Walking the dogs is usually the next job, we tend to take them out as a group for a walk and play together.’
‘Once back in the office it’s catching up with emails and making sure the samples are carefully prepared for the day. We also use this time for analysing the data on our dogs’ performance.’
‘We then start training for the day – as trainers we each run our own project and assist others depending on which project has time in the bio- room. I am leading on our malaria detection project, so I have 4 dogs to work and ideally, they will all get 2 to 3 20min sessions each working day. This will usually see us through to when the fosterers come to pick the dogs up at the end of the working day to take them to their homes.’
What’s the best bit about the job?
‘The best bit is when you have those breakthrough moments, the first time I had dogs reliably detecting that a person had malaria was a fantastic moment.’
What’s the worst bit about the job?
‘The worst part of my job is the admin. like all dog trainers I’d love to be working with the dogs for my whole day but I know we can’t do this work without the other work that comes with it.’
Any tips for getting into the job?
My three tips for getting into this job are; never think you can stop learning, have a good work ethic to any task you’re given & to keep a positive, can-do attitude.
The Charity’s Bio-Detection Dogs are trained to find the odour of diseases, such as cancer, in samples such as urine, breath and swabs, while their Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to detect minute changes in an individual’s personal odour triggered by their disease, and alert them to an impending medical event.
The total cost of training and placing a Medical Alert Assistance Dog is £13,000. The total cost of training a Bio Detection Dog is £11,500 with an ongoing monthly cost of £600. To find out more about the ways in which you can help this fantastic charity, visit their website www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk.
A huge thank you to Mark and the wider team at Medical Detection dogs for taking the time to speak to us.
If you work alongside a dog, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at Hello@Buddies.co.uk.