I’ve met and interviewed Claire Guest several times, and I’m fascinated by the work she does. She trains dog to sniff out cancer, and has also trained a dog to detect low blood sugar level. She is a charming woman, and clearly a talented and patient trainer. I’ve also witnessed her dogs demonstrating their scenting abilities.
Claire is the chief executive of Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs (www.cancerdogs.co.uk/)and one of the dogs she is currently working with is a rescue dog called Casper. The Spaniel puppy had been in a Blue Cross shelter, and was passed over by many potential adopters because he is too energetic. However, it was his energy that attracted Claire, and she hopes he will be working as a cancer detecting dog before 2009 is half over.
You can hear one of our interviews with Claire in Episode 70 of DogCast Radio, where she talks about a marvellous young Labrador called Bianca. Bianca lives with and looks after a young boy whose blood sugar falls dangerously low without warning, and her presence has given the family some peace of mind about the safety of her charge.
Meanwhile, work continues to try to create an electronic nose that can match the sensitivity of a dog’s. Will the scientists succeed in this task? Who can say, but if they do succeed, will the resultant device resort to nudging people’s hands in an attempt to attract attention?