Daisy the fox red Labrador, who was the star cancer detection dog at the charity Medical Detection Dogs, has died at the age of 13 following a short illness.
Daisy was trained as a puppy to sniff out the smell of disease on urine samples donated by volunteers. She tested over 6,500 samples and identified correctly over 550 cases of cancer.
In training trials, she achieved 93 per cent reliability, the highest of all the dogs at the charity’s centre.
Daisy also saved her owner’s life when Claire Guest, now CEO of Medical Detection Dogs was trying to take her out for a walk. Daisy nudged persistently at Claire’s chest until Claire decided to get it checked by a doctor.
A scan showed Claire had a deep-seated tumour, which had Daisy not drawn Claire’s attention to it, might well have been missed until it was too late.
“It is with huge sadness that I must announce that medical detection dog Daisy passed away on Monday afternoon after a very short illness," Claire said.
“Daisy was a beautiful, gentle special dog who has been my lifeline for over 13 years. Her work persuaded many of the possibilities of a revolutionary way to detect cancer. Her legacy will live on in the work of the charity and will lead to advances never thought possible.
“Daisy saved my life, warning me about my breast cancer six years ago. Sadly, at the end, I could not do the same for her, but I could ensure that she was spared any unnecessary suffering and she is now at peace.
“I want, more than anything for Daisy’s life and contribution to the charity and the saving of human lives to be celebrated and remembered. It will take me some time for me to enjoy happy memories but I am sure that, in time, I will.”
Daisy had been working on a trial into detecting prostate cancer that is due to be completed next year. The team of eight dogs, including Daisy’s niece Florin, will continue her work to develop a cheap, reliable and non-invasive test for prostate cancer that has the potential to save thousands of lives.
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