Flatties are more than capable to do anything you want or need them to do,.. here is an old interview I had with Becki Lang.
Age: 17 months
Breed: Flatcoated Retriever
Owner: Becki Lang
“Oscar’s favourite words are ‘FIND IT’, there is nothing better than having to use your nose to find whatever is ‘lost’! I think he also quite likes ‘ are you hungry’ to which he always infers that he is by running and sitting next to his bowl.”
“Oscar is very laid back and calm. I’d describe him as sensitive, as he doesn’t like harsh commands, and looks like he is in shock if verbally reprimanded!
Oscar is willing to learn, and loves to please. He does have the cheeky flatcoat mentality which means he can act the clown, but its hard to be cross with him when it is so cheeky, and playful. They say the flatcoated retriever is the Peter Pan of the dog world, and I really hope my boy never grows up, as he is a joy to share my life with.”
Oscar is a Medical assistance dog. Becki, his owner is diabetic.
What is so special about Oscar is that he is trained to help Becki finding her medical kit and alerting her when her medical condition is changing.
Becky explains more:
“For my specific condition, the dog alerts you to serious changes in blood sugar levels. He also can retrieve any medical equipment that I might need in an emergency situation. Medical detection dogs UK are also training dogs to help people with addisons disease, epilepsy and even cancer detection.”
Oscar is still in training.
“Oscar will be using his nose to help me. It is all reward based training so it will become a “fun” game for him rather than work.”
For some, a Flatcoat seems a silly choice for this job because of their reputation as the “Peter Pan” of the dogs.
This means that Flatcoats tend to never grow up. A very playful dog.
Becki did choose a Flatcoat and got Oscar with the idea to train him and maybe to prove people wrong.
“I have always had a dog, and my previous dog Woody passed away around the time that I became sick. I wanted another dog, but made the decision to get a flatcoated retriever because I had my heart set on having a dog that would work in medical detection. I was told that retriever and spaniel breeds were the most suitable, and so I began looking at retrievers online, and just loved the sound of the flatcoat.
I don’t think flatcoats are generally used as they have a bad rep. Someone I know did however meet a flatcoat guide dog so they are more than capable”
She had Oscar as a pup and started training as soon he was ready.
“We have worked towards the kennel club good citizen tests, and have passed bronze and silver – just gold left, which was a pre-requisite for the standard medical detection dogs expected of a self trained dog.”
Oscar is a talented dog. He already saved Becki’s life twice waking her up because her sugars were dangerously low.
“When your body runs low or high blood sugars a lot, it sets your internal “thermostat” at the wrong level – low or high can feel normal. For me, low blood sugars don’t trigger the normal response, sometimes I feel nothing. Low sugars should wake you up from sleep but mine don’t always do that. On two occasions, Oscar has woken me by barking and licking my face repeatedly. When he has roused me they are at 1.8, 2.2 etc normal is 4.0-7.0″
And that as a dog who hasn’t finished his detection training yet. Which is very impressive.
“I think any dog would probably do it, but yes it’s very cool. I think if a dogs owner is sick they pick up on it.”
You think any untrained dog would do the same?
“My parents own a spaniel and he’s never shown any indication that he notices.But my friends Labrador has. She licks my mouth when my sugars are high.”
As many agree dogs are life savers, not directly but they do give you love, attention and all you need in life.
Dealing with any condition can be worrying but a dog like Oscar helps in many ways.
” I felt hopeless and thought I’d never drive or go out alone again and through having him he has given me so much happiness and hope. You can’t not get up in the morning and walk him and play with him, as I made a promise to him that he would have the life he deserved.”
I have heard that Oscar is not a licky dog… WHAT? A flatcoat not being licky?
“haha they are licky dogs, i’m really disappointed that oscar isnt really licky,
I have to say ‘kiss’ and I only get one!
I think I was short changed on this one!”
The medical assistance training will teach Oscar a certain way of notifying Becki when her Sugar levels are dangerously high or low. That could be licking for example.
“He doesn’t always tell me in the same way and i have wondered why he is keeping on at me – jumping up, yapping and it turns out its dropped really low. My friends sometimes notice his behaviour more than i do and get me to test!
by by with the medical dog teams help we can narrow down his way of telling me.They will train him to use one specific way, I have chosen him to lick
Amazing isn’t it? Dogs that can detect certain aspects of an illness. Humans won’t notice the things dogs notice. They have a special nose for things.
Dogs save people many ways but this is a very special way. That is why I think Oscar is an inspirational dog.
“Oscar is my inspiration for most things I do. I want him to be happy, so with him as my focus it keeps me from worrying about my own problems. He is going to give me my independence back, and that unconditional love is what keeps me going on the days when I feel really poorly and fed up.”
Oscar and Becki
With the help of Oscar, Becki can lead a life with less worry thanks to Oscar.
If you want to know more about Medical assistance dog training please visit http://medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/
If you want to meet Oscar , he is on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/oscar.lang.96
If you have a similar story to share or a story about an inspirational dog you own or know please comment below. Of course you can also use the comment section to ..comment 🙂