A doggie story that highlights diabetes

Pip the diabetes sniffer dog
Pip the diabetes sniffer dog
Share this article

The real life story of a diabetic teenager and her lifesaving sniffer dog will be told on stage in Preston later this month.

Katie and Pip, performed by the city’s Tin Can People theatre company, will feature 15-year-old Katie Gregson and her pet border collie to raise public awareness of Type 1 diabetes.

Katie with Pip

Katie with Pip

Katie, younger sister of Tin Can People actor Rob Gregson, trained five-year-old Pip to detect when her blood sugar levels are either too high or too low, just by sense of smell.

Pip is now a qualified Medial Alert Assistance dog and the hour-long performance will use their experiences to question how we view invisibile disability.

Actor Carlotte Berry, who appears in the production, explained: “We wanted to face the challenge of working with both children and animals to embrace the liveness it creates in a theatre space. The bond between the participants is so strong and we want to be able to share that with the audience.”

Katie was given Pip (below) as a pup and, after hearing how animals are able to detect illness in humans, she began training her to raise the alarm when she needs her insulin.

“When my blood sugar goes too high or too low I give off an odour,” she explained. “but no-one else can smell it, only dogs can because their sense of smell is up to a billion times better than ours.”

The company performed Katie and Pip at the Edinburgh Fringe to raise money for the JDRF diabetes charity. The latest performance will be in the UCLan Media Factory Theatre on March 14 at 7.30pm.