Champion Beauceron Is a Life Saver
Elias may be the first male AKC Grand Champion of the Beauceron breed, but to Holly Scott he is a lifesaver. You may have seen Elias if you caught the Beauceron competition at the Westminster Dog Show this year. Though only two years old, Elias is a studly dude of a dog, representing the finest traits of this 400 year old breed.
Elias Makes It Safe for Owner with Celiac Disease to Eat
Elias’ owner, Holly Scott, is a student at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. Because she has celiac disease, she is so highly sensitive to gluten she becomes deathly ill if she ingests it, or even if a knife that has touched gluten touches her food. To Holly, avoiding gluten is the difference between a normal life and a life spent in and out of hospitals.
Elias is a Search and Rescue Dog, But He Doesn’t Sniff Out Bombs
Enter Elias, a Search and Rescue (SAR) dog trained to sniff out gluten, instead of bombs and drugs. This is not so simple since gluten is not only found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, but also hidden in soy sauce, some salad dressings and even toothpaste. Elias’ intensive training began with Susan Bass at Mes Yeux Vigilants Beaucerons in Independence, Missouri, and was completed in Slovenia. And this training is not cheap; one training academy estimated the cost from $16,000 to $60,000.
The Big Question: How Does He Do It?
Q: How does Elias actually detect gluten, and what does he do if he finds it?
A: At all times Holly carries a clean cloth perforated with holes. She places it over her food, and lets Elias take a sniff. If he detects gluten he will try to remove the food from Holly; if the food is safe, he walks away. Elias is with Holly almost everywhere she goes, at the few eateries she dares to frequent, at social outings, in class and on public transportation. He’s a handsome hundred pounder, but Holly says he can still curl into an “amazingly small ball” at her feet. Holly practices with Elias every day with known gluten-containing foods so he “doesn’t lose his edge.”
Elias and Holly: It’s a God Thing
Susan Bass felt all along that Elias was being trained for gluten sniffing for a very special reason; she just didn’t know what it was. She prayed for guidance, and then realized that Holly, the daughter of a good friend, was in desperate need of an SAR dog who could detect gluten. “It’s a God thing,” Susan says.