My name is Gemma and together with one of my dogs Rupert, we make a bedbug detection team.
So how did we get into searching for something so gross?
Well... the past decade has been spent training and breeding pet-dogs and gun-dog breeds: Springers, Cockers, Labradors and Hungarian Vizslas. This background has given me a knowledge and understanding of the breeds typically used in detection work which is all important when it comes to training and working with all the beautiful energy that our search dogs have.
It was about fifteen years ago that I first wished I could be an explosives detection dog handler. After the Manchester terror attacks and the subsequent London attacks, I felt more compelled than ever and decided in early 2018 that it was now or never and so I did it with one of the dogs I had previously bred. We qualified in the Summer of 2018.
I had another dog that I also wanted to train to search for explosives but because he is a bit of a mummy’s boy, I thought that a different style of search might suit him better. Our unusually hot summer had brought with it a rapid increase of bedbug infestations and suffering by humans. Bedbugs exist in even the cleanest of establishments and can cost businesses thousands of pounds in personal injury claims, so a good detection dog is a useful tool. I resolved to put Rupert’s good nose to good use, and we qualified as a team in 2018.