Peanut-sniffing dog sought for boy with a deadly allergy

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TURNER - Four-year-old Ethan Rines is looking forward to being protected from his deadly allergy to peanuts by an Angel Service dog.

Ethan's problem was recognized when he was nearly a year old and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. According to his mother, Jessie, Ethan went into anaphylactic shock and nearly died shortly after eating the sandwich.

A friend told Jessie about how Angel Service Dogs help people with peanut allergies.

The Monument, Colo., organization is nonprofit and was started by families with children with severe allergies. It helps people with epilepsy and life-threatening allergies by providing dogs trained to respond to or alert others to a seizure or to the scent of a particular allergen.

Rines contacted Sherry Mers, co-founder of the organization and sent an application. She learned that the cost of a dog is around $10,000, and the family needs to spend two weeks in Colorado training with it, bringing the cost closer to $15,000.

After the dog is ordered, it will take 18 months to train it to detect peanuts, call 911, accompany the child everywhere and wear an emergency pack on its vest.

The family's goal is to go to Colorado and get the dog by August 2010 for Ethan's 6th birthday. It will be an Australian labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog because these have less dander.

To help with the family's expenses, a musical benefit will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Turner Grange. It will feature Diamonds and Rust Bluegrass Band and Ethan, who is learning to play his tiny fiddle, mandolin and guitar. He also sings as he strums his washtub bass in a music room filled with guitars, bass, keyboard and a sound system.

Ethan's dad, Ezra, his mother, and his grandparents Diane and Pudgy Rines and Carolyn and Wayne Viger all play instruments.

Turner Veterinary Service at 273 Auburn Road is sponsoring a bottle drive for Ethan.

Other fundraisers are a spaghetti supper, silent auction and cake walk June 6 at the Boofy Quimby Memorial Hall in Turner. To donate for the auction, cakes and money contact Dian Mooar at 597-2123 or e-mail:

An account for purchasing the dog has been set up at Androscoggin Bank in Turner in Ethan's name.

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