Meet The Dog That Sniffs Out Peanuts For Girl With Nut Allergy

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Meet the dog that sniffs out peanuts for allergic little girl

A little girl with a nut allergy has been given a new lease of life thanks to her best friend - a dog that has been trained to sniff out peanuts.

Meghan Weingarth, seven, comes out in hives and could go into anaphylactic shock if she eats anything that contains peanuts or almonds.

But Meghan's faithful companion, LilyBelle has been specially trained to sniff out nuts in her food and keep her out of harm's way.

The clever canine checks all of Meghan's food and raises a paw to warn her if the food she's about to eat contains nuts.

Meghan who lives with her mum Jennifer Schillig in Suwanee in Georgia, USA, also suffers from Tuberous Sclerosis Complex - an extremely rare genetic condition that causes tumours to grow in the brain and other organs.

The condition can cause seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability and autism.

In addition to her peanut detecting skills LilyBelle is training to detect when Meghan is about to suffer a seizure and alert those around her while comforting Meghan, licking her hand and cuddling up next to her until the seizure has passed.

Meghan has grown so close to her four-legged friend they go everywhere together, LilyBelle sits beside Meghan's desk when she's at school, keeps a close eye on her when she attends friend's birthday parties and even curls up at the bottom of the bed while she sleeps.

Mum Jennifer said: "There's definitely a strong bond between Meghan and LilyBelle, they're never far away from one another. If one of them is not in the room they'll look for one another, they always want to be right next to each other.

"LilyBelle goes to school with Meghan, hospital appointments, church, grocery shopping, birthday parties. They're always together.

"If Meghan goes swimming LilyBelle will sit at the side of the pool, at Birthday parties LilyBelle will sit in the corner, far enough away to allow Meghan to play with her friends but close enough that she can keep still see Meghan at all times.

"Meghan dislikes storms but now she has LilyBelle she's not as scared anymore she just snuggles with her like a teddy bear.

"Before LilyBelle things were very challenging, I couldn't leave Meghan in the room on her own as she always wanted me by her side.

"Now LilyBelle's there I can leave the room and do other household chores such as the washing and cleaning without worrying about Meghan.

"It's great to have that piece of mind as I know as long as Lily Belle is by her side, Meghan will be okay."

Meghan was first introduced to LilyBelle in March 2012, they then enlisted the help of trainer Ashleigh Kinsley Hill from Georgia K9 Academy who worked with the Golden-doodle for over a year before Meghan took her home in April 2013.

LilyBelle 'graduated' from training school last week when she completed her final peanut-detector exam during a family meal at a restaurant, successfully detecting nuts in some of the restaurant dishes and alerting Meghan of the danger.

Jennifer said: "We initially contacted Ashleigh at Georgia K9 Academy as we wanted to see if they could train a dog to help detect Meghan's seizures but when we mentioned Meghan's allergy, Ashleigh said she could train a dog to detect peanuts too.

"Meghan has been diagnosed with a peanut and almond allergy, she comes out in hives and there's a chance she could go into anaphylactic shock.

"There's always a risk Meghan could come into contact with nuts, even with LilyBelle around. Meghan is only seven so she isn't always able to understand the risks herself but hopefully as LilyBelle and Meghan grow together that risk will get less and less.

"I can't be with Meghan all the time, so it's reassuring that LilyBelle can be that gatekeeper and keep her safe and give Meghan some independence.

"With Tuberous Sclerosis. Meghan suffers from complex partial seizures, we can't always detect when she is having or had one of these seizures and there's always the risk they could develop into grand-mal seizures.

"LilyBelle is training to detect when Meghan is having a seizure, over time she will recognise slight changes in her behaviour just before.

"If she has a seizure LilyBelle will keep Meghan comfortable and alert those around her so that we can keep an eye on her.

"Since getting LilyBelle, Meghan hasn't had nearly as many seizures, we don't know if this is an ironic coincidence or because Meghan feels so much more at ease with LilyBelle around and this has decreased her seizure activity.

"It also gives me and her dad Andrew piece of mind to know LilyBelle is always there with Meghan, she's like her very own Guardian angel."

To find out more about Tuberous Sclerosis visit:

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