A woman has been left unable to sleep after her medical alert dog was stolen.

Karen Crawley has become the latest victim of an epidemic of pooch pilfering which is sweeping the UK.

The 51-year-old has type 1 diabetes and suffers from severe hypoglycaemic episodes, in which her blood sugar level drops dangerously low, My London reported.

When it does, she is left incapacitated and unable to form sentences.

Usually her eight-year-old cocker spaniel, Chester, alerts Karen when her blood sugar levels are dropping.

This can give her time to sort out the problem if she hasn’t noticed it herself.

Chester helped Karen if her blood sugar levels were falling
(Image: MyLondon WS)

Sadly Chester went missing on March 4 and has now been reported as stolen on the basis of theft by finding.

Karen said: “If you get warning symptoms you can fix it but if you don’t notice the warning symptoms it gets to a more difficult state with the brain.

“His early intervention is really key.”

At night during severe hypoglycaemic episodes, Karen can be ‘completely incapacitated’ and covered in a cold sweat.

“You can think clearly but you can’t articulate words or form sentences because your brain doesn’t have the glucose to function properly,” she explained.

The biggest issue for Karen is the stress of not knowing where her dog is and the added worry of her blood sugar is leaving her exhausted and making her diabetes harder to manage.

“I don’t know where he is, if someone is taking care of him, if he was taken by one of these gangs. I don’t know any of that,” she said.

“Night times are the most dangerous because if I slip into a hypo during the night it is almost always more serious. Chester would wake me up.

“As it is, I’m waking up every couple of hours with the worry of losing Chester, and the worry of whether I’m ok or not.

“Then having to check my blood as well to make sure I’m ok. As this is nearly three weeks now, I’m exhausted.”

Chester has been helping Karen since he was around 18 months old, when he started to continuously paw her before one of her episodes.

Now, she knows to check her blood levels as soon as he raises the alarm, helping prevent serious complications.

After a while, Karen did some research and found that dogs can be trained at a significant cost to recognise the early onset of a hypoglycaemic episode through a certain scent as well as to fetch their owner’s glucose.

Chester had already taught himself how to recognise the scent for free.

Chester went missing while Karen was walking home on the paths in Hanworth, West London at around 11.15am on March 4.

The spaniel had gone round the bend and was gone by the time Karen reached the spot a few moments later.

Karen originally reported the dog lost, but the police told her they didn’t deal with ‘lost property’.

After two weeks of no sightings, Karen reported Chester as stolen on the basis of theft by finding.

Chester was wearing a red tartan collar with an ID disk when he went missing and is microchipped.

If you have seen Chester, contact Karen or DogLost here.

According to the missing pets website there has been a 170% increase in the number of dogs stolen across the UK since the start of the pandemic.

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