Lifestyle Pets Dog's Peanut-Sniffing Skill Keeps Little Girl Alive "Peanut-sniffing dog" keeps one Riley Mer from suffering allergic reactions. By Kate Hogan Kate Hogan Instagram Twitter Kate Hogan is Director of Digital Specials and Features at PEOPLE. In her 14 years at the brand, she has covered everything from pets and babies to style and Sexiest Man Alive, interviewing celebrities including Céline Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Evans. Currently, she oversees the creation of photo galleries that complement breaking news and major PEOPLE moments like The Beautiful Issue and 100 Reasons to Love America. She has offered expert celebrity commentary on Good Morning America and Access Hollywood. Before joining PEOPLE in 2008, Kate was an editorial assistant at Morris Visitor Publications. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication and resides outside of Chicago with her husband and three kids. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 24, 2009 06:30 PM Share Tweet Pin Email As an 8-year-old, Riley Mers is thrilled to have a puppy as her constant companion. But her furry friend isn’t just a playmate – he works hard everyday to keep her from a sometimes hidden enemy: peanuts. Mers’ Portuguese water dog, Rock’O, is a specially-trained peanut-sniffing dog, who takes a whiff of Mers’ food before she eats in order to prevent her from ingesting peanut products, which can kill her. Rock’O can sense the nuts even before Mers can; a truly important skill considering Mers has been known to go into hives just from inhaling the scent of peanuts. Rock’O was trained for six months at the Florida Canine Academy, where dogs have learned to detect bombs, narcotics, flammable materials and even bed bugs. Though his program cost nearly $10,000, it’s a small price to pay for saving a child’s life. See this amazing dog in action in this video!