Service Dog for Bias
A service dog would mean a better life for Toby. It would mean protection from accidental exposure to gluten. It would mean being able to do more normal activities without worry or at least with the knowledge that this pup could protect Toby. It would mean freedom.
Let me explain:
Toby is our precious, sweet, funny, goofy 3.5 year old. After years of fighting for a diagnosis, in August 2015 Toby was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This is an auto-immune response to gluten. Your immune system is designed to protect you from the outside world. Instead of protecting him, when gluten is introduced into his system (even just his toast being toasted in a toaster that other non gluten free breads have been in can cause these attacks) when this happens his body treats it as an evil pathogen and attacks his healthy tissue.
Just avoid gluten right?!
I wish it were that simple, the problem is celiac disease. For people with this illness, foods containing gluten trigger an abnormal immune response that damages the small intestine. Common symptoms related to celiac disease include gas, abdominal swelling, and bloating. Mild to severe stomach pain, abnormal stools, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting are also frequently seen. It is similar to feelig like you havet he flu...that lasts for weeks. The normal small intestine has small hair-like projections along its length known as villi which assist in the absorption of the nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. The autoimmune response causes so much damage to these villi that they are no longer effective, thus depriving the body of needed nutrients. Furthermore celiac disease can cause the gaps between the cells in the small intestine to open so widely that they allow toxins and gluten fragments into the bloodstream which can cause disastrous results.
Keeping a diet completely free of gluten can be a challenge for those with celiac disease. Especially difficult is that elusive problem of cross contamination. Currently there is only one treatment for celiac disease, and that is the elimination of all contact with gluten. This is not easy. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. While it is easy to spot some sources of gluten, such as cereals, breads, cookies, and pizza, it is also used widely as a filler, binder, or thickener. In those latter guises gluten can be hidden in all manner of food, including soy sauce and many commercial salad dressings. Gluten is often in nonfood products such as some toothpastes, insect repellent sprays, gum, hand soap, playdough, chapsticks, some shampoos and some cosmetic and grooming products.
When Toby has been exposed to gluten he looks as though he has had a stroke. His right leg drags on the ground, his speech is slurred and his belly is oh so bloated, he is in pain and cries/whines all the time after these exposures, he gets fatigued, and these are only the symptoms we can see, there is so much more damage that occures internally. In order to detox his system from gluten exposure it can literally take us weeks. WEEKS.
In order to secure a pup for training through Allergen Detection Dogs we will need 10% down ($1600) which is the required deposit to secure a dog and begin training. Our ultimate cost will be $16,000. We are saving every penny we can to make this happen for him and truly appreciate from the bottom of our hearts any support you can give as well.
The Hardesty Family