Gluten Detecting Service Dog

My name is Heather, I'm a social worker living in Minneapolis, MN. I have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder where my body cannot handle gluten (a protein in wheat, barley and rye). Even the smallest crumb of gluten can make me very sick. Now there are gluten-detecting service dogs for this! 

It's expensive to get a gluten-detecting service dog. Training a dog to be a gluten-detecting service dog is more complicated than training other scent/allergen detecting dogs. This is the case because gluten is a protein within so many foods and in many varieties of foods. 

The training of this service dog took place in Slovenia (the ones in the USA who used to train these dogs have since closed their operations because it's just too difficult to train the dog to detect gluten. Otherwise, there is one other trainer in the USA).

I'm looking to crowd funding because the $10,000 for our service dog may not even cover the costs, but, it would give us a good start!

Keywords: Celiac Disease, Gluten Free, Gluten, Service Dog.

This is Cupido! He will be my gluten detecting dog!

Frequently Asked Questions:
What is celiac disease? Learn more at the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Why would someone pay so much for a dog? This is a very specialized service dog who would detect a protein within foods. There is only one trainer in the world who does this!

What does the $10,000 cover? The money pays for the dog, overall training, travel expenses for the dog and trainer, food for the dog, vaccinations, health check, export papers, handling instruction for Malik and myself. If we happen to have additional funds donated beyond the $10,000, the money will go toward my many medical bills.

Is this even economically feasible? I am often hospitalized due to migraines that result from gluten and dehydration. The dehydration results from accidental cross contamination. My ER hospital bill for February, 2014 was more that $4,000. So, just five hospital visits is $20,000. Furthermore, each time I accidentally get cross contaminated with gluten - it takes my body several weeks to recover. Some research indicates that it takes up to six months to fully heal.

How can I get a gluten-detecting service dog? I have been working with a trainer in Slovenia. Information can be obtained at

Special thanks to the following businesses for their donations for the silent auction:
King Arthur Flour
Red Apple Lipstick & Make Up
Ener-G Foods
Jessica's Natural Foods
Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
Original Pancake House
Menchie's, St. Paul, MN
Total Dog Company, New Hope, MN

Online Silent Auction will be taking place November 15-30, 2014. More information to come.
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Heather Holt 
Minneapolis, MN
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