The Dog Who Saves Lives

With our hospital therapy work, it was ironic to come across this news video recently. How fabulous is it dogs like Angus are able to contribute such ‘pawsitive’ work on behalf of us uprights?

Our family experienced first hand the impact of that all too familiar infection know as Clostridium difficile (often referred to as C. difficile, or C. diff for short) while being treated for an entirely different illness in the hospital. Did you know that around a half a million patients per year become infected with C diff while in US hospitals with some 15,000 deaths. Earlier in the year, my own mom was hospitalized with a case of pneumonia a few months after suffering a gastric aneurysm. While in the hospital she contracted a case of C diff which made recovery from the pneumonia as well as ongoing gastrointestinal issues all that more problematic. Too bad  ‘Angus’ or some other trained pup would have been wandering around the hospital when mom was there; she might have avoided an extended and very unpleasant stay and might have been able to recover from the pneumonia, an already tough illness for elderly patients to recover from, rather than the double whammy of dealing with C. diff on top of it weakening her immune system all the more.

We have hospital duty later this week and while the hospital where we volunteer has a very good record when it comes to secondary infection rates, I couldn’t help but wonder if a dog like Angus or his brother could make a significant impact in infection rates among hospitals in general. It’s made me curious enough to look into how to get into nose work. We’ll keep you posted on the possibilities that nose work might have in therapy work. Have you ever had any experience with a super sniffer like Angus?

Live, love, bark! <3

33 thoughts on “The Dog Who Saves Lives

  1. I see C diff in the hospital all the time and for patients who are already debilitated, it can indeed be lethal. That they could a train a dog to use his nose in such a way is remarkable.

  2. Sorry to hear about your mum’s illness, my dad had something similar happen where he contracted a MRSA infection while in hospital for something else. It’s pretty scary to think those things can happen, thankfully nothing serious came out of it!
    Dogs are amazing aren’t they, hopefully more and more industries can use them for their benefit and I’m sure the dogs get a kick out of doing their “job” too so it would be a win win all around and who doesn’t get cheered up by the presence of doggies 🙂

    1. Sadly hospitals are notorious for being “germ factories” and all to often you end up contracting a secondary infection from what you were originally being treated. It’s sad and dangerous. Glad your Dad pulled through ok. The idea that dogs can smell these kinds of things just blows my mind!

  3. Amazing what our anipals can do. My brother-in-law that just passed had been doing chemo treatments for leukemia which wiped out his immune system. He was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and later found to have contracted MRSA. It was too late and he had no way to fight it off. thank you for the thoughtful card, so sweet of you.

    PugMom LInda

    1. When you have a secondary infection and your entire body is comprised, serious consequences can result. MRSA is nothing to sneeze at, especially when your immune system is in a big time fight. So sorry about your BIL.

  4. Wonderful, uplifting news feed instead of what we usually get. Sorry about your grandmother and her ongoing health problems. Hospitals should be held accountable.

  5. I’m fascinated by the super sniffing dogs – they are so amazing. I think anything that can be helpful should be explored (plus, who wouldn’t be buoyed by the sight of a dog while in the hospital? I know it would lift my spirits, just to see one around).

    1. The nurses sure think so whenever we’re around. Always wanted to bring Sam into the law firm. I think a dog would have been so amazingly productive for overstressed ‘legal beagles’ and their staff in the long run but they would never take that suggestion to heart. 😎

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story. I thought the story of Angus’ trainer and her connection to C. diff, which inspired her to train Angus, was so interesting. That would be a good job for my little sister. She has quite a curious nose!

    1. I think we all can agree that life could be so much better if we train those curious noses to do ‘pawsitive’ things! Have a couple of them around the Ranch that could use a better outlet for their curiosity if you know what I mean. BOL

  7. What a brilliant idea that was, to train a dog to sniff out Cdiff…
    Our dear old alsatian, who died last year, came from a chap who trained sniffer dogs for drug work and gave us cause for unseemly mirth when he homed in on the bag carried by a visiting member of the OIJ (investigatory police)……

  8. No I have not but I do so wish we had. It might have saved Annabell a lot of pain and trauma and three months in hospital – 3 of them, one here two in Adelaide. This C.Diff I have never heard of but what Annabell contracted was Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Golden Staph. and that’s pretty rotten. It’s been seven years now and there were two years that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, up to and including the Breast Cancer Scare – which turned out to be a harmless cyst, but on top of what we were already going through, scary

    1. Yuck, staph is definitely nothing to sneeze at! Maybe there’ll be a dog trained in searching out that particular evil so people like Annabell don’t have to suffer needlessly. Hope springs eternal that we can figure out how to harness the amazing abilities of dogs to benefit all uprights.

  9. isn’t that great that animals and specially dogs can help us with so much things? I’ve read that they can smell even a kind of big c and their sensible noses can do miracles…

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