Local News

Allergy-sniffing dog gives little girl freedom

Allergy sniffing dog

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Feeley family says they have been virtual prisoners in their home for the last 6 years since their daughter, Samantha, was born.

"We are very much confined to our house or the doctor's office.  She doesn't get to go out, she doesn't get to do things like your typical 6-year-old would want to do," said Allison Feeley, Samantha's mother.

Samantha is severely allergic to substances like dairy and peanuts.  If she comes into contact with an allergen like peanuts, Samantha could go into anaphylactic shock.

"I could die in just 3 minutes," Samantha said.

The Feeley family risked everything to fly from Florida to Colorado Springs so their daughter could pick up what they consider freedom on four paws: a service dog that can sniff out allergens.

"Sammy's definitely got a rough life," said Angel Service Dogs executive director Sherry Mers.   "This is going to make it better.  This is going to make it where she can go to that park, go to that sleepover, do what other kids take for granted."

Theo, a 2-year-old "goldendoodle," has been trained to sniff out peanuts and dairy.  He will immediately sit when he smells danger.

"This dog's going to give her a peace of mind so that instead of constantly wondering if I'm going to live or die, she's going to be thinking about can I play on that swing," Mers said.

Samantha says she can't wait to go to the playground.

"It'll tell me what's safe and unsafe and it'll let me play with friends," Samantha said.

The family will train with Angel Service Dogs for another week to master the commands and learn how to investigate areas with Theo to make sure it will be safe for Samantha.

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