Medical Detection Dogs

My name is Michelle Westgarth, I am 22 years old and until last year I was a fully-functioning, able-bodied young-adult. Without warning, I developed Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) this causes me too lose consciousness without prior warning. I also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which means I am prone to subluxtions and dislocations of my joints and tearing of my ligaments- as you could imagine the risk of these injuries are vastly increased when I collapse.  I am a Social Work student at the University of Northampton. I became unwell part way through my studies and I've had to have several breaks from my course. 
I am currently an applicant for Medical Detection Dogs- in hopes that I will partnered with a service dog in order to warn me before I experience any episodes. These dogs have been known to give up to a 15 minute warning before the sufferer collapses, giving that person time to get to safety. They stop their owners going down the stairs, crossing the road etc when they fear a POTS attack.

“At Medical Detection Dogs our dogs detect minute changes in the odour, related to factors governed by the particular condition and when they sense the change they alert the client to the impending, medical event. People living with PoTS often suffer severe and dangerous blackouts, our dogs can alert individuals to an impending event is an abnormal response by the autonomic nervous system to becoming upright. There is an abnormally high increase in heart rate and altered blood supply to the brain on standing.” –Medical Detection Dogs

To train a dog it costs the charity £11,200 to care, train, place and support a dog and his/her owner for life.  There is no 100% guarantee that I myself will get partnered with dog, and there is a waiting list, but I am always hopeful. I would like to raise £10,000 towards the cost of my puppy, or someone else’s if the case may be. I have recently £4,000 at a fundriaser. Also, with the help of generous friends and family we have raised £1,500 so far previously in the year. The charity rely solely on donations and do not receive any government funding. Please support me in my quest to raise funds.

Donations (34)

  • Anonymous
    • £25 
    • 7 yrs


Michelle Westgarth

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