Lafayette, La. — Mark ‘Brady’ Lerille is deathly allergic to peanuts. If he is near a peanut he will have a reaction. If he ingests anything peanut related he could die. Luckily, for the past four years he has not gone into shock thanks to his four-legged, furry protector, Chance.
Brady’s parents first noticed his peanut allergy when he was two-years-old. After having some peanut butter, he broke out in hives. Since then, his allergy has become extremely dangerous. Up until the age of 18, Brady would go into shock about once a year.
Before Brady started college, he contacted Southern Star Ranch in Florence, Texas. Southern Star trains dogs to detect dangerous substances. He spoke to Sharon Sherry, the owner of the ranch, and was then matched up with Chance.
Chance and Brady were perfect together.
“Regardless of how well trained a detector dog is, they are only as good as their handler — they are a team. The handler spends two weeks training with the dog before they then take them home,” explained Sherry.
Now at age 22, Brady hasn’t had to administer his EpiPen, a life saving injection, in four years. He believes that Chance has changed his life. The dog goes everywhere with Brady. He attends classes, goes to restaurants and accompanies Brady when he’s out with family and friends.
Brady says that Chance is very professional and he wears a working dog vest when he is on duty. Chance also may not be petted unless permission is given. He takes his job very seriously.
“He gets extra excited if he sees his working vest in my hand, he absolutely loves going to work. When he finds a peanut he gets so excited – his ears perk up and his eyes get really big,” said Brady.
Once a peanut is identified, Chance points his nose within a half-inch of the object. Of course, he receives a wonderful reward — his favorite toy or treat. Although the allergy is extremely dangerous for Brady, he says that he wouldn’t want his life any other way. Especially now that he has Chance.
“I have met a lot of cool people because of my allergies and I also have an amazing companion because of it.”