H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Dec 17, 2010 8:15 PM by Danielle Lerner

Orcutt family thanks community for allergy-sniffing service dog

The holidays will be much brighter and safer for a 5-year-old Orcutt boy with life-threatening nut allergies, thanks to a local elementary school and nonprofit.

Bishop Peak Elementary School and Jack's Helping Hand teamed up to raise $5,000 for Cooper Giron. The money helped the Giron's get an allergy-sniffing service dog so that Cooper can start kindergarten next year. On Friday Cooper and his mom returned to Bishop Peak Elementary School to share their story and say thank you.

Five-year-old Cooper Giron was all giggles on stage at Bishop Peak Elementary School Friday, but his severe nut allergy is no laughing matter.

"He has about a 20-minute window that if he's not treated right he can have either brain damage or anaphylactic shock, which to Cooper is deadly," said Christina Giron, Cooper's mom. "It's really scary for us to know that we can send our child to school and he may not come home."

That is where the Giron's new service dog, Chip, comes in. Since people cannot always see the nuts or oils other children may leave behind, the Labradoodle is trained to pick up on the scent. It could be anywhere, from door handles to play equipment.

So as Cooper and Chip embark on their new lives together, the Girons say they are forever grateful to the students and organizations who made their dream of owning a service dog come true.

"If it wasn't for the community that we lived in I really don't think we would have this dog right now," said Giron. "Chip means the world to our family."

Chip has been with the Giron family since October. He was trained by a group called Angel Service Dogs in Colorado Springs.

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