Tuesday 20 September 2016

Book Review: Daisy's Gift by Claire Guest

Claire Guest was walking her dogs when Daisy, a fox red Labrador, nudged her breast insistently and stared up into her face with her big brown eyes. Sensing something was wrong, Claire visited her GP and soon found out she had a very deep – and difficult to diagnose – form of breast cancer. Daisy had saved her life, simply by smelling her cancer.

With her scientific background and deep love of dogs, Claire intuited that Daisy and her canine pals could save many more lives, and set up the charity Medical Detection Dogs. Though faced with many challenges, Claire and her dogs have proven to be a remarkable asset to cancer detection, and have changed the lives of many seriously ill people and their families.

I read Daisy's Gift as part of the Nonfiction Reading Challenge. I was drawn to this book because of my love of dogs, and I was intrigued by the idea of dogs being used to detect and help in the diagnosis of cancer.

Daisy's Gift is a fascinating read. I found Claire's enthusiasm for her work to be very inspiring. Claire has always had an affinity with all animals, but her passion for dogs and their unique abilities has influenced the trajectory of her life and career. Claire is one of those people who certainly have a destiny here on Earth; as she tells her story in Daisy's Gift, it is obvious Claire's life has brought her exactly where she needs to be - helping change the world with her charity Medical Detection Dogs.

It was no surprise to me to read that dogs have the ability to tune into their owners - I've witnessed in my own dog her special way of reading my emotions. But taking this idea a step further, Claire and her team are able to harness a dog's strong sense of smell - every disease has an odour - to train the dog to alert their owner to physiological changes. Claire not only trains dogs to detect cancer, but she also trains medical assistance dogs to live with those suffering from diabetes and other diseases. This work has allowed many people to live relatively normal lives, knowing that their constant dog companion is on guard at all times to help them manage their disease.

I admire Claire Guest. She has dedicated her life to helping develop the pioneering work of bio detection dogs. Her passion for her work is evident on every page of Daisy's Gift. It is clear Claire believes strongly in dogs and their abilities. Reading Claire's book has made me fall in love with dogs even more. They really are phenomenal animals, with a lot to teach us. With Claire and others like her working worldwide to train these dogs to use their innate capabilities, the human race is able to benefit even further from our close relationship to dogs. Not only is a dog a pet and companion, they can also save your life.