- February 26, 2009 - Nine-year-old Billy Gensel is so allergic to peanuts that he has to wear a warning tag around his neck. He doesn't even have to eat them, something as simple as touching a table or a chair with peanut residue on it could trigger anaphylactic shock and kill him.
Billy, of Tampa. hasn't been able to do many things other kids take for granted because of his potentially fatal peanut allergy. But now thanks to his black lab, Remy, Billy can do just about anything.
Remy is an elite dog - one of the first peanut-sniffing dogs in the country - highly trained at Southern Star Ranch Boarding Kennel near Houston to detect minute traces of peanut residue in just about anything, and warns Billy before he has a reaction.
Before Billy dines out, something he once was not able to do, Remy carefully sniffs the restaurant's chair and table. If Remy senses they are contaminated, she barks, and Billy's mother, Karen, uses special wipes to sterilize the area. Remy's face and paws would need to be wiped down too because she had also become exposed. Remy also warns Billy if his food has any peanut residue in it.
Billy tells INSIDE EDITION that the black lab has already saved his life many times.
Billy: "She's saved my life many, many times already..."
Remy must also inspect hotel rooms before Billy is safe to stay in them. INSIDE EDITION watches as, in less than a minute, she finds a Snicker's bar hidden under a seat cushion as a test.
accompanied Billy as he went on his first flight ever, thanks to Remy, who had to first check out the plane. Remy didn't like some of the seat cushions, and let Billy's mom know by barking.
Karen Gensel is overwhelmed with the gift, their sweet dog, has given them.
Karen Gensel: "He doesn't get to do the things other kids do, so this is a big, big deal."