Hypo Hounds is an owner-based assistance dog programme based in Kent and serving the South East community
We’re here to help children and adults with Type 1 diabetes whose pet dogs have the potential to become a diabetic alert dog.
Certain dogs have such sensitive noses that they can be trained to detect dangerous changes their owners’ blood sugars.
By alerting their owners or their families to these changes in blood sugars, diabetic alert dogs can prevent potentially life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks. These are known as hypos and result from low blood sugar levels.
Diabetic alert dogs can also detect potential episodes of hyperglycaemia (known as hypers) when blood sugar levels are too high.
Training pet dogs to develop life-saving skills
The Hypo Hounds training programme is for dog owners with brittle Type 1 diabetes.
We are already helping children and adults to train their dogs to develop their scenting and alerting skills, in Kent and the South East of England.
Reducing the need for hospital admissions
When someone with diabetes has a severe hypo or hyper the consequences can be serious and hospital admission can be required. But with the support of a diabetic alert dog, people with diabetes can dramatically reduce their risk of experiencing a hypo.
A dog trained by Hypo Hounds can make a huge difference to their owners’ lives, increasing their confidence and independence. And with emergency admissions to hospital for hypos and hypers costing the NHS millions of pounds each year, Hypo Hounds are saving the health service money, as well as saving lives.
Meet our Hypo Hounds ambassadors Joe Pasquale and Robin Ellis
We are honoured to welcome as Hypo Hounds ambassadors comedian Joe Pasquale and actor Robin Ellis, famous for his role as the original Captain Ross Poldark on BBC TV in the 70s.
Mr Pasquale said: “Hypo Hounds is doing fantastic work in the Kent community, training dogs to save the lives of people living with diabetes. When I was asked to be an ambassador and help raise awareness of both diabetes and Hypo Hounds I was truly touched and honoured.”
Talking about his own personal experience of diabetes, Mr Ellis said: “My mother had Type 1 diabetes and I witnessed her struggles with hypos which often happened while she slept at night. My father would miraculously awaken and be forced to call the ambulance and rush Molly to the hospital. If she’d had a dog trained to alert her, many traumatic events might have been avoided. Her struggle informed my own reaction to Type 2 diabetes, when I was diagnosed in my 50s.”
Mr Ellis now devotes some of his time to assisting others with Type 2 diabetes (and those trying to avoid it) and is the author of three cookbooks on how to eat well with diabetes. He is a firm believer that people living with diabetes can still enjoy delicious meals that are also healthy!
He says: “I am delighted to support this outstanding venture to enlist the help of our dear canine companions to further support those with the most dangerous forms of diabetes. These dogs clearly bring great companionship, confidence and vital life-saving assistance to their owners.”
Hypo Hounds chief executive Jane Pearman said: “We are so pleased that Joe and Robin have chosen to come on board and support our work. We are so proud of what we have achieved since we launched our charity in May 2016.”