Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Knew?: Part 2

Since I was unable to post yesterday, I'm going to give you all a bonus and post twice today! 

I really didn't know they had dogs that sniff out allergens. This story about dogs that help children avoid nut allergens got me thinking about several things. I'm all for dogs that can help us, but when did this become such a huge problem? I mean, I know nut allergies are REAL and can be SERIOUS. So can shellfish and latex allergies. 

BUT we need dogs to sniff this stuff out now? What did people do 20 years ago? Where there even that many affected by these allergies? Frankly, I don't know. I do know that the more people try to protect their children's immune systems and avoid all "germs" the worse allergies are: studies have proven out that pet owning children have a LOWER incidence of allergies.  The immune system needs to be stimulated in order to grow and develop properly.  

Anyhow, here's the story:

Special dogs track allergens to keep kids safe
NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Boo and Riley are more than affectionate, protective family pets. To their owners, the specially trained dogs are a furry layer of security to sniff out peanut products and other life-threatening allergens.
The dogs' Connecticut owners are among many people nationwide turning to allergy-sniffing service dogs, who accompany their handlers to detect allergens and their residue at school, during social events and in other everyday activities.
As their popularity grows, though, some owners are having mixed success in convincing businesses, schools and those in charge of other public venues that the dogs must be accepted as service animals, just as dogs whose handlers' disabilities are more readily apparent.
They're already specifically recognized as medical service dogs in recent updates to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, but some parents are taking it a step further by lobbying their local and state officials to update their regulations, too.
"The dog is just one way we can help our daughter have a more normal life," said Pam Minicucci of North Haven, whose 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, is constantly accompanied by her allergy-sniffing St. Bernard named Boo.
Minicucci asked Connecticut lawmakers this year to add allergy-sniffing dogs to the state statutes to mirror the ADA language, but the bill languished in a committee without full General Assembly action.
Gianna's allergy to peanut products, tree nuts and their residue in the air or on surfaces is so severe that even minuscule particles can trigger hives, itching and difficulty breathing that has sent her to the hospital several times. She carries an inhaler, wipes, Benadryl and EpiPen injectors everywhere in case she encounters anything to which she's allergic.
She and Boo get mixed reactions as they go to public venues and school, even though the dog wears a vest identifying it as a service animal.
"Our goal is for the dog to be with her everywhere she goes," Gianna's mother said. "I don't expect people to change their world for us, but I do expect them to allow us to protect our child in the way we need to."
State and federal agencies do not track the number of allergy-specific service dogs in the nation, but handlers and trainers say they're fielding more inquiries and orders in recent years. They attribute it to a growing awareness about the allergy-sniffing dogs and an increase in peanut allergies among many of today's children.
That's my emphasis there. The rest of the article can be found here:  Allergen Detecting Dogs

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