(Riverton, Wyo.) – A Riverton dog breeder is making it possible for a Riverton child to have a service dog that will be trained to detect chemistry changes in the girl’s body to head off infections before they become serious.
A fundraiser is scheduled this Saturday to help raise funds for the training of the dog. The event, a Cystic Fibrosis walk, will be held at the Riverton HIgh School track from 8 a.m. until at least 3 p.m.
Little Gillianna Griffin-Futter, now 15 months old, was diagnosed with Cistic Fibrosis when she was three weeks old. The fund raiser is two pronged, to help raise funds for training of the dog, and to help raise funds for the Cistic Fibrosis Foundation and other cf children, her mother Kaitlyn said. A total of $13,000 is needed for the training of the dog, which will take place at a special center in Colorado.
The child has already had a dozen hospitalizations for chronic build-up of mucus in the lungs, digestive and reproductive tracks. The child is also suffering from several other ailments, including a problem with her trachea. Her airway is too weak to cough up the mucus, which then can lead to serious lung infections.
That’s where Eunice Mushitz comes in. Mushitz is a breeder of German Shepard dogs, for mostly search and rescue purposes. Mushitz’s daughter was contacted by a friend of the Griffin Family, who contacted her mother, who upon hearing of the little girl’s plight agreed to donate a service dog for the child. The child’s doctors had recommended a service dog for the little girl. The dog will be trained to use its ability to recognize scents to notice the subtle changes in the girl’s body chemistry that could indicate the onset of a new lung infection. If caught early, the child won’t need emergency airlifts to Denver and the infection can be treated locally.
“This is the first of my dogs to be used for this specialized medical service,” Mushitz said. “Most of them go for pets or for search and rescue.” She explained that she only raises one litter of pups each year. “I currently have search and rescue dogs working in Virginia, Utah and Pennsylvania.” Mushitz said all of her brood stock, two dogs, came from a specialized line of dogs from Germany.
The service dog has been named Adelfried, a German name meaning “he who protects.”