A FAITHFUL dog has become a lifesaver after being trained to sniff out nuts.
Yasmine Tornbald, of Malvern, developed a severe nut allergy about eight years ago and can go into anaphylactic shock, which can cause death, if she eats nuts or co-mes into close contact with them.
But after years of having to ask friends to clean their houses before she came to visit and wiping down hotel rooms, her four-year-old poodle Nano has been trained by Medical Detection Dogs to detect nuts right away.
Ms Tornbald, who works in IT, said she had spent some time looking into how she could lead an ordinary life without a fear of coming into contact with nuts “I was researching immunisation, but my allergy specialist advised against it because sometimes it can make it much worse.
“A little while after this, I was watching a TV programme about peanut detection dogs in Canada.
“I called lots of people asking if anyone in the UK did something similar and someone said, ‘Why not try Medical Detection Dogs’.”
The Milton Keynes-based charity trains dogs to recognise medical problems such as allergies or diabetes through smell and earlier this year announced that it was working on training them to detect cancer.
Nano underwent about a year of training for one day a week and can now smell pea-nuts, cashews and walnuts.
Ms Tornbald said: “He never had any experience, but luckily his new favourite game is searching.
“He loves working – I wouldn’t have put him through it if he didn’t enjoy it as first of all he’s my pet dog.”
She said she was grateful to her friends, families and colleagues who had put up with Nano being a permanent fixture in the office.
“My life is more or less how it was eight years ago,” she said.
“I don’t have to worry about going to visit friends any more as I have Nano with me and he can ensure I will be safe. It’s made such a difference – I still can’t really believe it.”