Life-threatening food allergies affect millions of children in the United States, sending countless people to the emergency room for medical attention. Now there is a way to help prevent unintended exposure to life-threatening allergies with a simple (and furry!) detection system!
Alert dogs warn when a specific allergen is present
An Allergy Alert™ dog can be an indispensable tool for protecting people with life-threatening allergies – particularly a peanut allergy, which is particularly insidious for young children who may not be able to spot a peanut butter sandwich on their own or have the self-confidence to get away from it. A dog’s sense of smell far surpasses that of a human’s, and this canine gift can be used and molded for the benefit of people with allergies.
Demanding and sophisticated training required
First health tested, then trained by a team of master trainers, an Allergy Alert™ dog is able to detect elements of an allergen in most any form; raw, cooked, oil, butter, dust, etc. The ability to detect the allergen is verified by a third-party testing process. The training is painstaking, taking over a year of increasing levels of detection. Dogs live with their trainers until they are ready to be placed with a family. Protected by ADA laws, these service animals can go anywhere with their owner.
Not every dog makes the cut
So far, only 30 dogs have passed the test and been placed with families in need. There are 20 more approaching readiness with even more families waiting. Only one in 4-6 puppies makes the grade and moves through the program. Not every dog can be an alert dog.
Creative solutions may be needed to meet the price
The dogs are not an inexpensive solution: each costs about $20,000. As a non-profit, Angel Service Dogs does accept donations and families have successfully organized fund raisers to get the money for these life-saving animals. Volunteers are also needed to help train the animals and offset the training costs.