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Dog Who Taught Himself How To Detect Epilepsy Wins Award At Crufts 2024

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A Labrador and Airedale Terrier cross, who taught himself how to detect epilepsy, wins the Family Crossbreed of the Year award at Crufts on Saturday, March 9.

Diesel, the 13-year-old dog owned by Claire Whitehead from Barlborough, Derbyshire, can detect her owner’s friend’s seizures.

Whitehead shares with BBC that Diesel learned to bark when her epileptic friend has a seizure. In addition to detecting Whitehead’s friend’s seizures, the Scruffts winner also brings her a blanket to protect her.

According to The Kennel Club, hundreds of dogs competed in qualifying rounds in 2023 in the Scruffts competition.

23 dogs and their owners took part in the semi-finals on Saturday, and Diesel was among the four finalists.

Whitehead was more than thrilled with her pooch’s win. She said, “I’m trying to keep my tears in! He’s my everything, I go nowhere without Diesel.”

“I have a tattoo of his pawprint on my wedding finger and he is my world,” the proud owner added.

For the competition’s winner, the judges were looking for qualities such as health, good character, and temperament.

One of the Scruffts competition’s judges, TV personality Faye Winter said, “We felt we could see the connection between Claire and Diesel but on top of that, it’s what he’s done for other people outside of Claire’s household for over a decade. It was a tight competition but in the end they were clear winners.”

Crufts TV presenter Radzi Chinyanganya and one of the competition’s judges also praises Diesel for teaching himself how to detect epilepsy.

Chinyanganya said, “To find out that an untrained dog has taught itself to be a medical alert dog, that’s a superpower.”

“It’s amazing so when we heard that we knew it was something special,” he added.

The Kennel Club shares that aside from winning the title, Diesel received a year’s supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog food from the pet food brand James Wellbeloved.

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