Opinion

Editorial: Peanut dog shows we care

The Oak Harbor community has pulled off another amazing success story with the purchase of a “peanut dog,” for Logan Gonzales, the student at Crescent Harbor Elementary School with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts.

The condition has hospitalized little Logan several times, and even minimal exposure to peanuts can result in a reaction that sends the boy into life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

When the community heard about Logan’s situation, starting with a story in the May 2 edition of the Whidbey News-Times, the outpouring of support was so impressive it brought tears to the eyes of Logan’s mother.

Perhaps another community would have put the burden of preventing Logan’s exposure to peanuts on the family’s shoulders; Keep him out of school; keep contact with other kids to a minimum; don’t let him go anywhere that peanuts might be present.

But Oak Harbor didn’t see the answer in confining a child at home and depriving him of the joys of childhood and being with friends. Instead, islanders went to work raising $12,000 to purchase a highly-trained dog that can warn Logan of any peanut danger. Parents and kids at Crescent Harbor Elementary also deserve a lot of credit for volunteering to give up on such traditional favorites as peanut butter sandwiches and cookies as long as Logan is at the school.

Last week the dog, a hairy Australian Lapradoodle named Roxie, came to school for the first time, alonside Logan. The dog sniffed around and found the facilities safe, and Logan took his seat. Some day, Roxie may spend the entire school day with Logan, but for now she’s just being used to make sure an area is safe.

In recent months, Logan’s family has received widespread media attention, including a scheduled appearance Tuesday on the NBC Today show. As a result, Oak Harbor’s community spirit will become widely known. The Oak Harbor Lions Club donated a good portion of the money and the North Whidbey Firefighters Association held fundraisers, as did other groups and individuals. Thanks to such generosity, the family was able to fly to Colorado where they trained with the dog for a couple of weeks before bringing her home.

Now, Oak Harbor has a dog to call its own if Logan doesn’t mind sharing. Roxie belongs to all of us, and if there’s a peanut in town when Logan’s around, we trust she’ll find it.

Community Events, April 2014

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