Colorado shelter dogs trained to be service dogs

Many people can say owning a dog will change your life for the better. But at Leasure Ranch K-9 Academy, they are taking that literally.

Working hand-in-hand with a local rescue, Michelle Abel has been taking in rescue dogs and training them in Byers, Colo. since May of 2021, KDVR reported

"I will take in some of their more difficult dogs and we train them to be able to place them better in homes is how it started," she said. 

But then, she took it a step further and worked with the animals to become service dogs.

"Most importantly, it's teaching them to be a proper service dog. When dogs walk into a public place, they should stay and lay down and not move. And so there is a lot of training that goes into that," she said. 


Image: KDVR

But Abel didn't stop there – and now she’s working with some of the dogs to be able to detect gluten.

"One of my daughter's friends was diagnosed with Celiac and her mother dared me to teach a dog to detect gluten."

Sometimes the tiniest trace amounts of gluten can have significant impacts for people with Celiac disease.

"Cross-contamination happens often. It literally can do damage their internal organs. They have determined that it can go as far as brain damage at times," Abel said.

And with 500 million receptors in their noses, the dogs are able to pick up those minute amounts of gluten, letting their owners know whether it's safe or not.

"The need for having a dog that can bring that sense of security is huge and can be life-changing to people," Abel said.

She’s trained dogs to go across the country, helping rescue dogs and people at the same time.

"Every family, there's different circumstances and we try to train these dogs according to their expectations, their needs, and the lifestyle that they have," she said.

This story was reported from Detroit. KDVR contributed.