Boy allergic to peanuts has dog to sniff out danger
TAMPA, Fla. -- Billy Gensel doesn't open doors or shake hands.
His mother pulls back the handle, and the 11-year-old enters a room at the Patel Conservatory, where he greets his jazz teacher with an elbow-to-elbow bump.
Musicians and staff members at Patel know the routine and have already prepared for Billy's arrival. They have turned off vending machines with peanut-filled snacks and wiped down the keys of a baby grand piano. They allow his specially trained dog to sniff out every hallway, each room and every piece of equipment that Billy might get close to.
Billy has a severe peanut allergy. If he touches or even breathes in a minuscule particle of peanut, he could die.
This is why Karen Gensel rarely leaves her son alone anywhere. He mostly stayed home the first eight years of his life.
Then his parents bought Remy, one of the few known allergen-alert dogs in the area.