Peanut Sniffing Dog.


I had an amazing conversation with a woman named Sharon who owns this dog training facility. She takes dogs from kill shelters and trains them to be service dogs. Not only service dogs, but peanut/nut sniffing service dogs! Yep, you read it right these dogs will actually sniff out peanut and other nut proteins even in minute traces. They can tell the difference between the big Hershey bars and the little cross contaminated ones, can distinguish between a package that has some nut contamination and the product inside the package, and can point specifically to a spot where the contamination is - like a shirt sleeve or coat pocket. Since these dogs are service dogs they can accompany their owners everywhere, schools, airplanes, and restaurants even.

After I talked to Sharon I spoke to one of her first peanut-sniffing-dog clients for about an hour and was even more amazed. This woman has a dog for her 9 year old son and says it is the best investment she has ever made. They take the dog with them everywhere and says that she is constantly stunned at how often nut proteins show up. The dog has found contamination in foods that she had diligently worked with restaurant chefs to make safe, on seats, on people, on the bottoms of their shoes, door knobs, rides in amusement parks, in paints in her sons art class, everywhere. She said prior to this dog her son would have been in more danger than she would have ever known.

We are very diligent when it comes to what Alec eats and comes in contact with but I wonder, how much has he been touching or ingesting that we do not even know about. On those (unfortunately frequent) days when he breaks into hives, or can't stop itching his arms, or has that not-so-random stomach problem, are those the days when he is picking up tiny bits of nut proteins? And what about in 13 days when we board an airplane that used to serve peanuts on the same seats we are sitting. Or when the person 3 rows down cracks open that pack of peanut butter crackers? The price of a peanut sniffing dog might just be more justifiable when you are playing russian roulette with your child's life 35 thousand feet in the air and only have enough epinephrine to keep him alive for 45 minutes.


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