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Service Dogs

In 1999 Jan Cobley and her husband Jim had decided to invest in a rental property in Portugal but their plans had to go on hold while Jan was admitted to hospital with very high calcium. After endless battles for treatment, Jan had surgery for hyperplasia and still suffers from hypoparathyroidism.

Jan and Cleo's Story...


In 2005 Cleo arrived. A tiny baby, and a breed I knew nothing about!


Cleo was amazing and still is. She became a Portuguese champion, Portuguese Grande champion, Gibraltar champion, international champion and has been placed many times at Crufts.  


Cleo started to alert me to my 'crashes'. She will bark and give me a paw, she got distressed as I didn't know what she was doing. Friends pointed out that this was happening regularly about 30 minutes before I became very ill. 


One-time Cleo refused to get in the car. She was running around barking and I had to force her to get in. Thirty minutes later I felt rough and asked my grandson for my pills. They weren’t in the car. I had left them at home which I suppose explained why Cleo would not get in!  She watches me all the time, looking back to check on me if we are out for walks, and following me everywhere. She sleeps beside me with her head near to mine, she calms me. Friends and family remark on her constant monitoring.


‘Three years ago, Cleo and I attended a dog show in Lisbon, I had bravely driven up, stopping a few times on route. We met up with friends and stood with them when suddenly a huge tent was caught by the wind, it took off fast and headed straight in my direction. The tent hit me on my head pushing me straight back onto concrete and burying me under the tent. Other dogs had bolted but not Cleo who stayed with me. We were both shaking heaps. She was badly injured by the metal tent bars. But she still stayed with me. 


Cleo is now 11 years old.  I have very aged parents and I travel back and forth to the UK a lot. I get stressed with travel that affects my calcium levels, but when I travel between the UK and Portugal, I am much calmer with Cleo beside me. “She has given me back my life”.

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