Dogs with jobs

Image of a running puppy
Making a hard days' work look like a walk in the park
Daisy detected Claire’s undiagnosed breast cancer
  • | by Amanda Bathory

Work ca-nine to five, what a way to make a living.

In a world where robots could take four million UK private sector jobs within 10 years, we may have to rely on man’s best friend to pay the mortgage. But, with these good dogs at the helm, letting them take the lead seems like a pretty good option.

Bodhi models menswear

Medical Detection Dogs was started in 2008 by animal behaviourist, Claire Guest.

In 2009, her wonder-dog Daisy detected Claire’s undiagnosed breast cancer – it was a revelation that pushed her to research just how sensitive dogs are to human disease.

Under Claire’s training, dogs like Daisy help detect cancer, Parkinson’s and malaria, and 70 are placed with patients battling to keep long-term illnesses, such as diabetes, in check too.

Their prostate cancer detection has reached 93% reliability, a startling result when traditional PSA blood tests yield 75% false positive rates.

“It takes six months to train a bio detection dog” says Claire, “the assistance dogs have 18 months puppy socialising and public access training, followed by up to 14 months of scent and alert training.”

If a pup sniffs a sample and detects a disease, they’ll sit, stare at the sample and be rewarded for their good work.

Which dogs are best suited to the vocation? Labradors, terriers, poodles, and spaniels, according to Claire, but their aptitude for the role comes down to personality, “The bio detection dogs have bundles of energy and love to solve the puzzle we set them,” she says.

“The medical assistance dogs are similarly bright and energetic so that they are always ready to alert their owner’s to chemical changes in their bodies that signal an imminent medical crisis.”

Stand aside, GPs.

Retrieve and rescue

Image of a rescue dog

Across England and Wales, there are 48 mountain rescue charities that rely on a dog’s expertise to rescue lost ramblers, Alzheimer patients, children and suicide victims.

Air scenting dogs are trained to sniff the wind, catch a scent and find its source. Once they’ve spotted the lost or injured party, the dog runs back to its handler and guides them back to the right spot.

Trailing dogs follow ground and air scent, and usually work on the lead with a mountain rescue volunteer following closely behind.

Labradors, German shepherds and border collies are well suited to mountain rescue, but regardless of the breed, every dog goes through rigorous training to prepare them for the challenge and terrain ahead.

It takes two years, plus a number of grades and assessment tests, to become fully qualified.

Once they’re a full search dog there’s no stopping them – bad weather, pitch black, mountain terrain and even urban environments are no problem for these pooches.

Lucy Lou leads the town

Border collie turned bureaucrat, Lucy Lou, was the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, between 2008 and 2016.

But a canine candidate isn’t anything new for the townsfolk. The 315-strong population previously voted in two other dogs, and when Lucy Lou retired from local office, a rescue pitbull named Brynneth Pawltrow was voted in with more than 3,000 votes.

The average annual salary for a mayor in the USA in 2017 is $62,000, but rather than shoulder big taxes to pay government salaries, the Rabbit Hash community pay to vote and all the money raised is funnelled back into the community.

Bone-us fact: Lucy Lou also ran for president in 2016.

Sleigh ride from Christmas road

An image of a husky sleigh ride

Travel to the Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi, Lapland, and you’ll meet more than just the big man himself.

More than 70 pure-bred Siberian Huskies, plus their many, many litters of puppies, live in the Arctic Circle Husky Adventure Park at 3 Christmas Road.

Throughout the year, they accompany tourists on sleigh safaris cross-country. Visitors can tour the Arctic Circle's breath-taking landscape and explore the parkland specially designed for the dogs' wellbeing. All the while, the huskies zoom ahead in front of a sled, or just a few paces away on a lead.

These gorgeous pack dogs are born to run, merrily galloping along for between 30 to 60 kilometers per day. Mush!

Turret and Glen catch mice