There are few dogs that can say they have celebrities and royals in their fan club, but Daisy the cancer detection dog was one of them.
The first time anyone laid eyes on her they would knew she was a special dog and felt incredibly privileged to be witnessing what she was capable of.
Daisy, who died last week, was a cancer detection dog who used the extraordinary power of her nose to sniff out cancer for Medical Detection Dogs.
She worked around a carousel with eight urine samples, sniffing to find which one had contained cancer.
Most people whose life Daisy will have saved won’t even realise that she was responsible – this is Daisy’s Gift. That is her legacy.
Now celebrities have paid tribute to Daisy who was handed the Blue Cross Medal in 2014 for ‘saving hundreds of lives’ through her work.
The Duchess of Cornwall is patron of the charity and she has had a lot of involvement in their work, visiting their centre in Buckinghamshire.
So much so that she auctioned off 250 jars of honey at Fortnum and Mason, made from the produce of her private garden at Ray Mill.
The Duchess became patron of the charity in February 2014 when Daisy went to St James’s Palace and demonstrated what she could do in front of her and Prince Charles.
Metro.co.uk spoke to some of her celebrity backers, including Jo Malone and Deborah Meaden, who wanted to pay tribute to an extraordinary dog.
Jo Malone said: ‘I so believe a dog is “man’s best friend” and nothing could be truer in Daisy and Claire’s case. Daisy saved Claire’s life and opened up a whole new way of helping treat life threatening situations simply by her amazing sense of smell.
Here is how the dogs work:
‘With great sadness, Daisy passed away last week and I feel so very sad for Claire – the loss must be heart-breaking, but Daisy leaves her legacy behind – Medical Detection Dogs which will continue to save so many more lives and help diagnose life threatening situations.
‘Thank you Daisy for all your love and friendship and all you gave and taught us – you have made our lives richer.’
Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden quoted Winnie the Pooh saying: ‘How lucky we are to have something that it is so hard to say goodbye to.’
She added: ‘I wish for Claire that the ache gives way to the warm memories…. that’s where Daisy lives now.’
Debbie Flint, ambassador to the charity and QVC presenter said: ‘When I first became an ambassador I met Claire and heard the story of Daisy.
‘She was always there with Claire in her office when I visited. Daisy spurred Claire on to launch this amazing charity with her own personal experience of discovering breast cancer through a dog’s actions.
‘We will all remember Daisy fondly, and our hugs and hearts are with Claire.’
Betsy Duncan Smith and her MP husband Iain foster Joby, a black spaniel working to detect prostate cancer for the charity.
Mrs Duncan Smith said: ‘[Daisy] was pivotal to the charity because she was there at the beginning. She was so reliable and so it gave us a very good start.
‘Claire and Daisy had an incredibly special bond. She was a very calm, wise dog. She wasn’t one of those dogs who said “look at me” all the time as many of them do, she was just a calm and kind dog.’
Her death left a hole in the lives of anyone who knew her, not least owner Dr Claire Guest whose life was saved when Daisy noticed her breast cancer. Dr Guest said: ‘Daisy was a beautiful, gentle special dog who has been my lifeline for over 13 years.
‘Her work persuaded many of the possibilities of a revolutionary way to detect cancer. Her legacy will live on in the work of the charity and will lead to advances never thought possible.
‘Daisy saved my life, warning me about my breast cancer six years ago. Sadly at the end, I could not do the same for her, but I could ensure that she was spared any unnecessary suffering and she is now at peace.
‘When I wrote the book Daisy’s Gift I knew that one day Daisy would no longer be by my side, the last lines in the book, were written for the moment she passed away.
‘Please do not think of me with sadness, think only of me with great love and adoration. I was sent to you as a gift, I came to you in a time and season when you needed me most.
‘I, too, also needed you. I was sent to be your constant companion and confidante, this was my only task, and I asked nothing in return.’
What Medical Detection Dogs do in their own words
Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to detect the odour of human disease. It is at the forefront of the research into the fight against cancer and helping people with life-threatening diseases.
Our Bio-Detection Dogs are trained to find the odour of diseases, such as cancer, in samples such as urine, breath and swabs.
Our Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to detect minute changes in an individual’s personal odour triggered by their disease and alert them to an impending medical event.
We receive no government funding for the work we do and rely entirely on the generosity of donations from trusts and the public.