Queen Camilla marks the 15 years of Medical Detection Dogs

The four-legged-heroes were the stars of the engagement

Today, Queen Camilla held a special reception at Clarence House to mark the 15th anniversary of one of her patronages – Medical Detection Dogs.

Camilla has supported the charity over recent years since 2014, particularly spotlighting their work in detecting COVID-19.

Camilla marked the 15th anniversary of Medical Detection Dogs. (Royal Family)

Speaking at the reception, Camilla said: ‘I have been a patron for 10 years and the first time I went to visit Claire at Milton Keynes, in a tiny little shed almost, it was Claire and one or two others, there were a lot of sceptics about.

‘People thought how on earth can these dogs sniff out all these diseases but as you have seen today, seeing is believing,’ The Queen said. ‘During Covid, they were completely brilliant. We did demonstrations at Paddington station and other places. Sadly, they weren’t used.

‘Maybe in the future, if we have a pandemic or something, they could be used because they have proved how brilliant they are doing it.’

Her Majesty received a special gift from Maggie, a detection dog in training. (Royal Family)

Medical Detection Dogs was co-founded by Dr Claire Guest and has trained more than 200 Medical Alert Assistance and Bio Detection Dogs to detect the faintest traces of certain odours due to medical conditions. Bio Detection Dogs are trained to detect conditions such as cancer and a study in 2022 found the dogs to be 94% accurate at detecting Covid-19.

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Among the guests who met Her Majesty Queen was Michelle Sutherland and her two-year-old medical alert assistance dog named Spring.

Spring alerts Ms Sutherland before medical emergencies caused by Addison’s disease, a condition where adrenal glands have self-destroyed, meaning her body cannot cope with stress.

‘Spring is a life saver, Michelle said. ‘He alerts four or five times every day, so he has given my independence back and allows me to live a normal life. Without him, I would not be here now. I would spend a lot of time in hospital. I was always ringing ambulances and I was off sick for months at a time. Spring is completely oblivious that he has given me my life back.’

Speaking about Camilla’s support to the charity, she added that ‘being Patron to the charity and offering her support is incredible and it makes people believe more in the charity, and believe dogs actually do have that ability to detect diseases.’

During the reception, Her Majesty watched a range of demonstrations from the dogs including one from detection Plum and Storm, who detected a urinary tract infection from a range of samples.

But the star of the reception was Maggie, a five-month-old puppy in training, who was tasked with delivering a gift basket to The Queen, while standard poodle puppy Dasher watched on from the sidelines as part of her socialisation training.

With all attention on her, Maggie dropped the basket at The Queen’s feet before dashing off whilst carrying a boom microphone from a nearby cameraman.

This isn’t the first time Camilla has marked a milestone in the charity’s history. In 2018, Elizabeth II and the then-Duchess of Cornwall celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Medical Detection Dogs Charity. Elizabeth and Camilla were treated to an impressive demonstration from the dogs, showcasing the wide range of skills of the talented pups.

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