Asthma & Allergy News Stories

Oct 14, 2009 10:30 AM by Abby Lane

Service dogs for children with peanut allergies

The suspense is almost too much for 5-year-old Ethan Rines.

"I can't wait!" he said.

Ethan and his mom, Jessie, traveled all the way from Maine to Colorado Springs to meet their new dog. They've waited for this moment for months.

"He's going to go everywhere with me," said Ethan.

Niko, a Portuguese waterdog, will help Ethan with his peanut allergy. He's so allergic he hasn't gone to school for a month and can't do simple things, like go to church or to the grocery store.

But that's about to change. Niko is trained to smell peanuts and alert Ethan when they're around. "When the dog finds that odor, he is taught to alert by sitting down," said Greg Gorden with K9 Alliance.

This program was started by a family in Monument whose daughter also has a severe allergy. The dogs aren't cheap, costing the Rines more than $10,000. But everyone agrees it's money well spent.

"Just to have that extra assurance is going to mean a lot," said Jessie.

A small price to pay for a little more peace of a mind and a boy's new best friend.

 

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