Family of 2-year-old with peanut allergy gets good news in quest for service dog

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2013

Mandi and Karl Boehm have discovered a North Carolina canine training company that will provide their daughter, Emmalee, the protection she needs against a severe peanut allergy.
The Post spoke with the Boehms nearly two weeks ago when the family was hoping to spread the word about fundraising efforts to get Emmalee, 2, a service dog that would be able to detect when the child is in contact with peanuts or substances that contain peanuts.
Emmalee has had a couple life-threatening incidents, one in which she came into contact with peanut residue left at a restaurant that doesn’t use peanuts. She had a horrible reaction to the substance and was later rushed to the hospital.
The family was hoping to raise $20,000 so a Colorado nonprofit would train the family, which includes son, Joseph, 8, as well as cover the cost of the dog.
Mandi’s mother, Kimberley Naves, began doing research and was able to connect with a friend who trains canines. The friend was unable to help the family, but put them in contact with Jerry Bradshaw, CEO of Tarheel Canine Training Inc.
Bradshaw trains law enforcement and military canines as well as service dogs. The company, located in Sanford, is much closer to the Boehms.
Mandi said the amount of money the family has to raise now is also much more attainable at $10,000.
“I feel like it’s so possible,” she said.
The Boehms say Bradshaw has also trained dogs for local law enforcement, including two used by officers with the Salisbury Police Department — Jason Fox and Mark Hunter — and one with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Justin Nelson.
Bradshaw has been training dogs for more than 20 years.
The family is also looking for a hypoallergenic dog, which Bradshaw assures them he can provide.
“We can make sure it’s a good fit for our family. We can get to know the dog. We can monitor how he is with her in general,” Mandi said.
If the dog is not a good fit for the family, Bradshaw has told the family, he’ll find one that is a fit.
So far the family has raised about $1,200 and once they have a $5,000 deposit will be able to begin training.
Karl and Mandi also like that they don’t have to risk Emmalee being on an airplane going to Colorado and Joseph won’t have to miss school.
It’s also important to the family that they are able to support a North Carolina business. The family’s goal is to have enough funds raised by January.
The Boehms are hosting a raffle sale where tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Savage Tans in Salisbury, Ace Tire in Rockwell and Bostian Heights Grocery at N.C. 152.
There are three chances to win the prizes — first place is $500, second is $150 and third place is $50.
The family continues to raise money via an online fundraising site called GoFundMe.
For more information about Emmalee and the Boehms’ fundraising efforts visit her page at
For more about Tarheel Canine Training Inc. visit
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook: