Meet cocker spaniel Clive - the 'police' dog who saves his owner's life EVERY day

Michelle Sutherland and her dog Clive.
Michelle Sutherland and her dog Clive.
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When Michelle Sutherland welcomed cocker spaniel Clive to her family several years ago she knew they would become close, but never did she imagine that her pet dog would end up saving her life every single day.

Seven months after getting the pup in March 2012, Mrs Sutherland - a logistics officer for Humberside Police - 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.

Clive, the medical assistance dog who saves his owner's life every day.

Clive, the medical assistance dog who saves his owner's life every day.

After spending a long period in hospital following complications related to her condition, Mrs Sutherland returned to her home in East Yorkshire and straight away noticed a change in Clive.

"His behaviour had definitely changed, he was always jumping up at me and trying to get my attention" she said.

"I just thought he was an annoying puppy. He was waking me up during the night and always jumping up at my face, little did I know what was about to happen."

Mrs Sutherland was surprised by her husband with a trip to Crufts following her hospital stay in a bid to build up her confidence. It was there she met representatives from Medical Detection Dogs and told them about her condition.

Michelle Sutherland and her pet dog Clive who saves her life on a daily basis

Michelle Sutherland and her pet dog Clive who saves her life on a daily basis

"I got talking to the CEO of the charity and she asked if I would fill out a form as she thought they could help me manage my condition better with the help of a dog," she said.

"I filled out the form but didn't think it would get anywhere and then we got talking about Clive.

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"He was still young enough and had the ability to want to train He was showing early signs he was already alerting so the Medical Detection Dogs team met with Clive and 18 months later he fully qualified."

Clive can detect a drop in Mrs Sutherland'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.

Inspector Gary Jackson with Michelle Sutherland and her medical assistance dog Clive.

Inspector Gary Jackson with Michelle Sutherland and her medical assistance dog Clive.

She will then take action by injecting herself.

Mrs Sutherland said: "Clive knows about 20 to 30 minutes before I actually start showing any symptoms. He is stopping me from going into an addisonian crisis. If I go into one of those, they can be fatal. Your blood pressure and blood sugar levels can drop and you can potentially slip into a coma. I feel fine when he alerts because I have that window where I can take my medication.

"We are inseparable and he is my best friend. he is my knight in shining armour. We spend 24 hours a day together, 365 days a year and I wouldn't be here without him. If it wasn't for Clive there is no doubt I wouldn't be here now."

A lifeline is available to help Mrs Sutherland with her condition, but it is not available on the NHS, and as a result her colleagues at Humberside Police have started fundraising to get her the treatment she needs.

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An Adrenal pump would mean her symptoms would improve significantly and this would provide her and Clive a lifeline where she could start to lead a relatively normal life without pain, muscle weakness and constant lethargy.

The cost of the pump is £3000 and there are regular private consultations which will mean ongoing funding.

Mrs Sutherland said: "This treatment is potentially life-saving and my quality of life would improve immensely. Its not available on the NHS, but it is available from a clinic in London.

"Because Addison's Disease is so rare I don't think people know how to manage the condition. A pump mimics the human body, but taking a steroid tablet, just one in the morning and one in the afternoon can not mimic the human body and my levels are constantly down.

"It would be life changing for me. It would mean i would be able to get a bit of my life back and so would my husband. At the moment I just work and sleep and we don't have a life outside of work."

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Inspector Gary Jackson, a colleague and friend of Mrs Sutherland, is rallying the troops to try and raise as much money as possible for the treatment.

Inspector Jackson said: "Michelle is a very private person and doesn't like a lot of fuss or attention as any of that can actually make her condition worse. About seven weeks ago Michelle approached me in confidence to tell me the issues she was having and how the specialist had reached the end of the road in treatment for her and her condition was only going to deteriorate. Michelle informed me of the potential non NHS funded Adrenal pump that would have a financial impact with ongoing monthly costs estimated to be around £250 per month.

"We are a big organisation and we are a big police family and I knew we would be able to make a determined impact in relation to fundraising for her. I put posters up around the force to kickstart the fundraising.

"As an organisation one of our core roles is to protect the public and look after people, but if we can't look after our own we are failing. It is a real privilege to be able to support Michelle and Clive, who is part of our police family."

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.