MEET Treacle – he is able to use his nose to detect when someone’s blood sugar level has dropped.
The dog, along with his owner Moira Harrison, visited the Drayton and Farlington Diabetes Support Group.
Moira, a lecturer from the University of Brighton, has suffered from Type 1 diabetes for 29 years.
Charity Medical Detection Dogs, trained Treacle to alert his owner if there is a problem.
Moira said: ‘We’ve had Treacle from when he was eight weeks old.
‘He is able to detect when my blood sugar levels drop.
‘I don’t know when they are dropping, which is why it can be potentially dangerous.
‘For me this could stop me from driving.
‘But Treacle can tell from my breath if my levels are dropping.
‘It means I can test myself and sort things out before I have a hypo.’
Dogs are trained for a specific person.
They are given samples of sweat and breath – one with a normal blood sugar level, and one just above someone suffering from hypoglycaemia – where blood sugar levels drop, causing a person to feel dizzy, have palpitations, sweat and shake.
Treacle will tap his nose on the palm of Moira’s hand, if her levels are dropping.
And if he’s further away from his owner he will bark.
The charity also trains biodetection dogs, which can detect cancer.
The diabetic support group meets at the Church of the Resurrection Hall, in Penrhyn Avenue, Drayton, on the first Wednesday of each month.
The session is run by Mary White.
She said: ‘Everyone at the group enjoyed the visit.’
Stephanie Burton, 65, of Uplands Road, Drayton, was among the group.
The retired receptionist, who suffers from Type 2 diabetes, said: ‘I’ve heard about these dogs, and they are very reassuring to have.
‘It’s amazing they can be trained to do it.’