We all know about the Guide Dogs, who do such a lot to help visually handicapped people, but there is more – One of our members, Phillipa Gordon, tells us about her little dog Poppy, and how Poppy and other dogs have been trained to save our lives.
Philippa says “Poppy is an amazing asset in my life. She is a Helpful Hound medical assistance dog and saves my life on a regular basis. Poppy is trained to alert me prior to hypo and hyperglycaemic occurrences with my Type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed 38 years ago after I had the mumps virus which is thought to have caused it. Doctors were very concerned whether I would live, due my regular severe hypoglycaemias -making me more vulnerable than others due to insulin sensitivity and hypo unawareness, in parallel with Addison’s disease.
I have been found unconscious in various places around the world and have been very lucky to survive. The Chelsea and Westminster hospital used to know me very well, and police and ambulance crews have sometimes had to break in to help me.
I had to retire from full time work due to my illness and it was very difficult to live alone, with a great fear of falling unconscious. If not found quickly I could easily die, as many Type 1 diabetics have done.
Then I found Poppy! Pugzu (a shih tzu pug mix) spent her puppy time and received training in Chelsea with a charity called Helpful Hounds. I love travelling and Poppy comes pretty much everywhere with me to ensure that I am not at risk of being found unconscious.
Helpful Hounds is a small but growing charity (no. 1181017) that trains dogs for medical emergencies such as epilepsy and diabetes, and was one of the first to train dogs for diagnosed PTSD sufferers.”
If you would like more information, or wish to donate to help fund some of the amazing work the charity does, or if you believe an assistance dog would help you or someone else, please contact Philippa on 07770-937305, or the charity direct on 01202 591602 See www.helpfulhounds.