Dog are amazing creatures that often do more than just provide companionship. There are many brave dogs out there that fight alongside our men and women in uniform, and help the disabled live a bit easier of a life. However, can dogs be trained to sniff out allergens in food?
Dawn Scheu suffers from Celiac disease. It’s the most severe form of gluten allergy, and if Dawn isn’t careful, the repercussions from ingesting any gluten can be substantial, even deadly. Thanks to Dawn, finding a way to live a “normal” life is a bit easier. She just had to get a dog.
Dawn adopted Willow, her dog, in the hopes of finding someone that could train Willow to detect gluten in the food she was about to eat. This was no easy task, as there aren’t many trainers specializing in gluten detection dogs.
“I called 18 companies and trainers before I called Kathy (Waters), and Kathy said she would try it,” said Dawn.
At first, Kathy wasn’t 100% positive that the idea would work.
“My thoughts were if there’s gluten everywhere, how am I going to train it (the dog). It’s in your bird food, it’s in your bug spray, it’s in the Ziploc baggy. The glue,” said Kathy.
However, despite the odds, Willow showed she actually could do it. She was able to detect the gluten in food, and be right every single time.
“It was like a month, and we knew we had it,” said Kathy.
Now, Willow has been with Dawn as her personal gluten detector, and Dawn feels like life is getting a bit easier for her.
“I can travel, I can go out to eat, I can do things that I couldn’t do before,” said Dawn.
Now, Willow is serving as the inspiration for the new training company Kathy and Dawn are starting. It will be called Nosey Dog Detection Partners. Success in many other food allergen detection areas seems to be totally possible with the right training. They’ve even been able to train a dog for eight-year-old Elizabeth Martin, whom is allergic to red dye #40.
Service dogs still come at a really high cost to the people they help out on a daily basis. In an effort to help reduce the cost of training these dogs to do what they do, they are having the dogs come in with the people that they will be assisting. Doing things this way will help keep costs down.
If you’d like more information you can visit Nosey Dog Detection Partners, or click here to see their full website.