Medical Alert Dogs Khayelitsha World Rabies Day national pet
Photo Credit: Sam Lion via Pexels

Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs is raising funds to keep it’s ‘Zero to Hero’ programme running; it trains rescues to be medical support for South African families.


Cape Town, South Africa (03 May 2024) – Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs was founded to help South Africans with medical conditions access well-trained service dogs. The not-for-profit company has been struggling to fund their “zero to hero pre-trained dog programme”, so are hosting a golf day to help raise funds.

Lucy Breytenbach founded Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs in 2014 after a plea from a family with a diabetic son approached her for help. Lucy researched and found that there were no service dogs available in South Africa, and she decided to change that. We first heard Lucy’s story in 2021 and loved the concept of creating medical alert dogs for local families, thus saving many more lives.

Lucy is a qualified Canine Behaviour Practitioner with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Science, Behaviour and Welfare from the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. With a Practitioner-level qualification in Canine Behaviour from The Ethology Academy and over 10 years of experience training dogs, Lucy started one of Cape Town’s top canine behaviour companies, “Just Dogs Behaviour Pty”, in 2013.

Through this company, she met young Duncan Smuts. The Smuts needed a Diabetic Alert Dog for Duncan. A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect a drop in blood sugar and raise the alert. It’s thought that organic compounds in exhaled breath change at low or high blood sugar levels, meaning a trained dog would be able to sniff out this change.

Lucy trained overseas and came back, establishing the training programme in South Africa. She trained Honey for Duncan. It was a success, and she became inspired to learn about other special needs and support opportunities. Honey also inspired the naming of Lucy’s non-profit company.

Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs trains Diabetic Alert Dogs, Seizure Response Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Multi-Purpose Assistance Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs.

The “zero to hero pre-trained dog programme” sees rescue dogs being taught how to become medical alert dogs. A perfect example, was in 2022 when little Jenna-Mae was paired with a local rescue dog to help manage her type-1 diabetes.

“Utilising our “Zero to Hero” program, we carefully select rescue dogs, and train them up to become Medical Service Dog Heroes for families in need.”

The hope is to run a series of fundraising campaigns. The golf day at Atlantic Beach Golf Estate on the 14th of June is the first of hopefully more to come.

If you would like to get involved, you can email Lucy here or reach out via Facebook here.

Sources: Honey Garden – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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