Like most young boys, Carson and Benjamin Gordon cannot wait to get a dog.
But this pet will do more than just play fetch with the kids, he will protect their lives.
The Gordon boys, 6 and 3, are severely allergic to nuts. So much so they are in need of an allergy alert service dog to keep them out of harm’s way.
“It’s so we can add another layer of protection for them,” said their mother, Cindy Gordon. “It will help give some life back to them. They have a lot to worry about at their age, but this could bring a lot of life back to their childhood.”
Cindy (Dent) and Gary Gordon grew up as neighbors in Hatcher Woods in Morris and moved to Ohio when Gary got a new job. Cindy’s parents, Bernice and Bill Dent, and Gary’s parents, George and Nancy Gordon, all still live in Morris.
To help raise the funds to purchase the dog a benefit is set for Sunday at the Morris VFW. The benefit will feature a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and country, bluegrass and gospel music.
For the dog, training and expenses to retrieve it in Colorado, the family has to raise $20,000. They have held other fundraisers, but still have about $11,000 to go.
The family’s dog has already been assigned through Angel Service Dogs Inc. Her name is Gia.
“She will be a little bit big,” 3-year-old Benjamin said. “Gia will come with us wherever we go.”
The family, including the boys, are disciplined about reading labels and paying attention to their surroundings. Both boys wear bracelets stating their allergies and carry emergency medicine on them.
But the dog will help when they are in an environment that could have invisible dangers, such as going to the park. Many parents bring packed lunches to the park and oftentimes those meals include peanut butter. If a child eats a sandwich with peanut butter on it, gets it on his or her hands and then climbs up a slide, peanut butter residue could be left on the park equipment.
If Benjamin, who has numerous food allergies plus asthma, were to get the residue on his hand and then rub his eye, it would enter his body without anyone noticing.
Carson has fewer allergies, but is severely allergic to almonds.
With the purchase of the dog, the boys could do things others take advantage of, such as going to parties, sitting in a shopping cart, going bowling or even sitting in a movie theater. The dog is trained to sniff out peanuts, peanut oil, almonds and almond oil.
In addition to these activities, the dog would go to school with the boys to secure their environment there.
For information, call Cindy Gordon at 614-595-3434 and to donate online, visit angelservicedogs.com and designate donations to Gia.