LIVES calls in four-legged volunteers in dogged determination to boost life-saving service

One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training
One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training
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Today, April 1, LIVES will see it's first newly recruited responder dogs answer 999 medical emergencies across Lincolnshire.

Year on year, the Lincolnshire charity has seen the number of patients it is called to help increase, reaching a record number of 21,550 patients in 2017.

One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training

One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training

For every patient helped by LIVES, the charity there are many more patients they could simply not get to. Their dogged determination to help more people in 2018 has seen LIVES recruit this new breed of responders.

Recruiting responder dogs, will help LIVES reach more people during 2018, particularly focused on those in cardiac arrest where a rapid response is essential. So when you're feeling really 'woof' and dial k-999 you might just get a four legged response.

The idea developed from seeing a dog perform CPR as part of a performance at Crufts in 2017. Jack Russell, spokesperson for LIVES, said: "LIVES continues to see a rapid increase in the number of people needing help across Lincolnshire and we are always sniffing out new ways to meet the increased demand.

"When the idea came up of using dogs for responding to cardiac arrests, people thought we were barking. However, there is a long history of dogs being used in rescue and emergency situations so we thought we'd test the idea.

One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training

One of LIVES responder dogs, Hugo in CPR training

"Seeing the dog at Crufts last year perform CPR, it really gave us paws for thought and after successfully training our first dog, Hugo, in this lifesaving skill, we will be running with the initiative this spring."

The dogs will work alongside LIVES' normal volunteer responders who have welcomed the new recruits with open arms. All responders undergo intense training with LIVES to deliver that immediate and often lifesaving treatment to patients before handing over to the ambulance service.

Day or night, whatever the weather, LIVES aims to be with patients in Lincolnshire wherever they may be, in time of greatest need. It costs approximately £1000 to keep each LIVES responder on the road, much more for one of the volunteer doctors who bring additional treatment and care to the patient.

LIVES is nearly 50 years old and although the responder dogs scheme is currently a pilot, LIVES hopes that people and businesses will consider sponsoring its human responders so that they can continue to serve Lincolnshire in 2018 and beyond.