Inseparable for a year, Flo Lewis and Ernie the Labrador will have to leave each other when the dog finishes his training period. He is in fact training to detect serious illnesses and will soon join his new family. A noble mission that the young woman is proud to accomplish.
Flo Lewis recounts her experience as a foster mother for medical detection dogs on the UK website Metro . She had wanted a 4-legged companion since her childhood and the death, in 2015, of her black-coated Labrador Retriever she adored. Every Christmas, she asked for one from her parents. It was finally during the summer of 2020 that his wish was granted with the arrival of Ernie .
A few weeks earlier, she had seen an ad on Facebook . The Medical Detection Dogs association was looking for foster families in the counties of Essex and Suffolk for disease detection dogs (cancer, type 1 diabetes, Covid-19, etc.) that it trains. Flo Lewis had applied, like twenty other candidates in the region.
She had answered a questionnaire relating in particular to her lifestyle and her interest in dog training. The next step was a remote interview, followed by a home visit by a regional manager of the association. A few days later, Medical Detection Dogs called Flo Lewis back to tell her that a puppy was ready to be entrusted to her.
A busy schedule for Ernie
This is how the young woman welcomed Ernie , Labrador in the sand dress, at her home in July 2020. He was then 8 weeks old. Since then, Flo Lewis has worked to consolidate his education and prepare him for the family life he will lead with the sick person he will be called upon to help on a daily basis.
Every Monday, training takes place at the park, with other dogs and their owners. The other days of the week, Ernie repeats the basic commands and reflexes inherent in his mission of medical detection.
The rest of the time is spent relaxing, playing, resting and interacting with Flo Lewis , family and as many other individuals as possible to socialize.
Pangs in the heart and pride a few months before the separation
Dogs trained by Medical Detection Dogs typically spend 15-18 months in foster care. Ernie will therefore leave that of Flo Lewis in 5 to 6 months, and the latter dreads the moment when she will be separated from the one with whom she has forged an intense relationship, made of complicity, total mutual trust and love. However, she will see him go with the knowledge that Ernie will make the life of a suffering person much better and with a sense of duty accomplished.
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Flo Lewis / Metro
And when the Labrador leaves, Flo Lewis will not be alone; her family recently adopted Ginny , a female Irish Red Setter. Besides, the bitch quickly became friends with Ernie ; she too will be a little sad when he returns to his new home.