The Duchess of Cornwall met with four-legged friends on a visit to Medical Detection Dogs, a charity she supports, in Milton Keyes.
Camilla was visiting to open a new Medical Detection Dogs training centre on Wednesday, meeting with handlers and training dogs, people who benefit from the service, and volunteers with the organisation.
The charity train specialist bio-detection dogs to identify diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and malaria.
Life-saving medical alert assistance dogs are also trained to help people with complex health problems, such as Type 1 diabetes, PoTS and Addison’s disease. pic.twitter.com/al4ewa5LtT
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) February 20, 2019
“To all of you here today, I wanted to say a huge thank you from a very, very proud patron,” Camilla said.
In order to officially open the training centre, the Duchess had to pass through a Guard of Honour consisting of two rows of dogs lined up with their owners before she cut the ribbon with a training dog named Tala at her side.
Tala carried a pair of scissors to Camilla so that she could cut the ribbon.
Camilla saw first-hand the vital service Medical Detection Dogs provides when a golden retriever named Henry alerted his owner, Elizabeth, that her heart rate was increasing.
Elizabeth told Metro UK that Henry “can let me know about five minutes before” and that he’ll jump at her, or bark, if she’s not paying attention to him.
“I don’t know where I would be without Medical Detection Dogs. I highly doubt I would be in university without them.”
Medical Detection Dogs works to train dogs to “detect the odour of human disease. It is at the forefront of the research into the fight against cancer and helping people with life-threatening diseases,” according to its website.
Medical Detection Dogs trains both Bio-Detection Dogs – trained to find the odour of diseases in “samples such as urine, breath and swabs” – and Medical Alert Assistance Dogs – trained to detect “minute changes in an individual’s personal odour triggered by their disease and alert them to an impending medical event.”
The organisation operates on donations and receives no government funding. The Duchess of Cornwall has been its patron since 2014.