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Police perspective: A well-earned rest for a much-loved canine lifesaver

This month, Humberside Police talk to us about how the force has hundreds of popular members of police staff, but few match the appeal of canine lifesaver Clive, the black and white cocker spaniel.

On Friday 11 March 2022, Clive retired from his paw patrol as a life-saving medical-assistance dog.

Medical Alert assistance dogs provide support to anyone with complex health conditions and who have limited awareness of an impending life-threatening medical event.

Clive worked alongside his owner Michelle Sutherland from Humberside Police’s Logistics Department where he was her faithful companion and true lifesaver.

Seven months after getting Clive as a puppy in 2012, Michelle was diagnosed with the life-limiting condition Addison’s disease, a rare disorder of the adrenal gland with life debilitating symptoms including extreme fatigue, weakness and generalised muscle pain.

After spending a long period in hospital following complications related to her condition, Michelle returned home and straight away noticed a change in Clive’s behaviour.

Following a chance conversation at Crufts in 2014 with representatives from Medical Detection dogs, a suggestion was made about the possibility of having Clive trained as an assistance dog to help Michelle manage her condition better.

It soon became apparent that the changes Michelle had noticed in Clive were signs of him alerting and after approximately 18 months in training he became her Medical Alert assistance dog.

Clive can detect a drop in Michelle’s steroid levels by a change in her scent levels and makes her aware of this by either jumping up to her face, or if she is asleep pawing at her until he gets her attention. She will then take action by injecting herself.

As a result, he was a life saver every day and emergency ambulance trips became a thing of the past.

Clive has also been nominated for and won several awards including:
• Winner in the 2019 Pet Health Club’s “Pet Hero of the Year”
• Finalist in the 2019 Amplifon Pet of the year
• Winner of the Barking Mad Pet of the year

His most prestigious award though, which he will receive later in 2022, is the PDSA Order of Merit which is the animal equivalent of an OBE.

Everyone at Humberside Police wishes Clive a long and happy retirement – we are sure there’s going to be plenty of treats in store for him as he steps aside for a new trained Medical Alert assistance dog a black Labrador called Luke.

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