Allergen Alert Dogs

I read a fascinating article in the Tampa Bay Times last week about an allergen alert dog. This kid, Billy, is so allergic to peanuts that breathing even the slightest peanut residue could be fatal in seconds. He used to hardly ever be able to leave the house, but now he feels safe as long as he has his dog with him.

Medical alert dog tagBilly’s parents bought the specially trained dog for $10,000 three years ago. Since then Billy has been able to travel and do all sorts of things they never thought he would be able to do. When Billy arrives everyone must be checked to make sure they haven’t eaten anything with peanuts or have any peanutty snacks with them. Then the dog is sent in to confirm that everyone and everything is clear of any and all peanut residue before Billy follows. The dog can even check Billy’s food without drooling on it or nibbling at it! Dog trainer, Leslie Staven, has trained 15 more working dogs since Billy’s dog. She can train them to find other allergens too.

I am so, SO glad that none of my allergies are this severe. I think it’s amazing that a dog can be trained to be so careful and thorough. I’m also glad that there are people taking the time to find ways to make life easier for people with allergies.

I just had to wonder though… I’m allergic to dogs, is there another animal I could train? Perhaps a bird? Not that I need one, but someone else might. 😉