Not all healthcare professionals have stethoscopes...some have four legs!!

19 Oct 2017 1:59 PMTandem Health
Not all healthcare professionals have stethoscopes...some have four legs!!

Doctors, specialists, nurses and hospitals aren’t the only ones doing commendable medical work within our local community, Assistance Dogs are too!

Meet Diesel, the loyal, good looking Assistance Dog who frequents our surgery with his ‘patient’.

Diesel is a 4 year old pure golden retriever who has provided essential assistance to his ‘patient’ for the last 3 years.

After speaking with Diesel’s ‘patient’ it became clear that Diesel’s training and qualifications as a Fully Qualified Diabetic Alert Assistances Dog mean far more than a title. Diesel is a skilled healthcare professional and carer, dedicated to his ‘patient’ day and night.

Diesel’s Diabetic Alert skills mean he can sense when his ‘patient’s’ blood sugar becomes dangerously low or high. He picks up on changes in blood sugar levels before his ‘patient’ is aware.

Diesel cleverly alerts his ‘patient’ by dropping down to the floor, licking or clawing if ignored. If his ‘patient’ is asleep during an alert he wakes him by sitting on him. Diesel is not overly verbal and prefers to communicate alerts via body language.

After an alert Diesel retrieves a blood tester, insulin and drinks etc. “There’s been many times when I have been woken through the night by Diesel sitting on my face or laying his entire body on me” said Diesel’s ‘patient’. Every time this alert has proved correct and crucial to the health of his ‘patient’.

Diesel's ‘patient’ is also confined to a wheelchair and as a extension of his body, Diesel helps by opening doors, turning light switches on and off and even putting washing in and out of the front loader washing machine and into the dryer. Yes, you read that correctly, he does washing!

Prior to finding his ‘patient’ Diesel was sadly a mistreated show dog. It took more than 9 full weeks for Diesel to come out of his shell, and it was Diesel who first initiated the Diabetic Alert pick ups for his ‘patient’. Diesel then completed 2 years training to became a Fully Qualified Assistance Dog with Full Public Access, including never leaving his ‘patient’s’ side during hospital stays.

Diesel’s ‘patient’ is as much a carer for Diesel as Diesel is to him. It’s a close bond and reliance that sees man and animal work together towards healthier and safer outcomes. Diesel is not alone, he is merely a lovely reminder of the many assistance dogs who serve as invaluable healthcare workers. Care comes in all forms, it’s not always from a Doctor or from a course of treatment, care very often comes from intelligent and compassionate animals.

Assistance Dogs also assist people living with physical disabilities, autism, post traumatic stress and dementia. For more information about assistance dogs and how to apply for an assistance dog visit and