Dogs and humans have been working together in perfect harmony for centuries. With their incredible sense of smell and obedient nature, our four-legged friends have been working on farms, in the police and helping those with disabilities. We have recently discovered six amazing jobs that you might not have realised dogs were doing here in the UK.
1. Diabetes Assistance Dogs
Thanks to their incredible sense of smell, dogs are now being trained to help those with diabetes manage their illness much better. Can Do Canines train these super-talented pups to detect a scent on their owner’s breath that indicates rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels.
Once the dog has detected the scent, it alerts its owner with a specially trained nudge or paw, so they can check their sugar levels and eat something to prevent a hypo. According to Can Do Canines, “the canine partner can also be trained to retrieve juice or glucose tabs, get an emergency phone, or get help from another person in the house”.
2. Truffle Hunting Dogs
When you think of truffle hunting, you might think of pigs roaming around woods digging up the delicacy with their snouts. Well, it turns out that pigs can be a little bit greedy (who knew!?) and have been known to enjoy a little snack on a truffle themselves.
The English Truffle Company train their dogs to detect truffles instead, with the reward of a tennis ball enough to keep them motivated. Their super smell makes them very good at finding the prized fungi and one of their dogs even went on to win the UK Truffle Hunting Championships.
3. Cancer Detection Dogs
Medical Detection Dogs is a fantastic UK charity helping to combat illnesses in the UK with the help of some clever canines. Daisy the Labrador was been given a Blue Cross Medal for her excellent work in medical detection, which saw her sniff out 550 cases of cancer which helped to save many lives.
Medical Detection Dogs detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are associated with disease growth, by sniffing samples of breath, skin and urine. Amazingly, Daisy also saved her owners life by detecting breast cancer. What a wonderful pup!
4. Admin Dog
Office life at Burlington Stone, a quarry in Cumbria, is a bit different. That’s because they have Misty, a Border Collie, working as an administrator. She has also the skills that make her perfect for the job – organisation, enthusiasm, discipline and an excellent way with people.
Misty collects paperwork and takes receipts to customers using the weighbridge at the quarry. She is also trusted with handling credit card transactions by carrying the card in her mouth to and from the office. She’s a popular employee and always manages to raise a smile from her fellow workers and customers.
5. Carehome Therapy Dog
Therapy dogs in care homes are becoming increasingly popular as organisations look to reduce loneliness and put a smile on their residents’ faces. Dodger, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is a pro and has been regularly visiting the George Mason Lodge in Leytonstone.
His super-sensitive nature means he can adapt to all of his friends at the home. For example, he can detect when a resident is unwell and sits close to them so they can stroke him without much effort. We think every care home needs a Dodger!
6. Canine Teaching Assistants
The pressure of exams and being away from home can pile on the stress for some university students. Luckily, some furry friends are on hand to ease their anxiety at Middlesex University. The uni has five labrador “canine teaching assistants” who all have their own staff cards.
Fiona Suthers, head of clinical skills at the university, said “You can literally feel stress levels reducing” as the dogs sit in on classes. They aren’t the most studious dogs, though, and have been known to favour a mid-afternoon nap to learning complex subjects. Who can blame them?
If you have any examples of dogs doing amazing or unusual jobs, we’d love to hear them. Get in touch via our social media channels (@animology) or use the hashtag #LoveAnimology.