I grew up around dogs and have spent all my adult years trying to figure out ways to spend more time around dogs. So it usually comes as a huge surprise when I admit that I am allergic to dogs. I am so allergic to dogs that I used to break out in hives when I volunteered at the shelter or adoption events. Nowadays, I can usually get away with snuggling the pups, as long as I wash my hands afterwards, and it is only one in every few strange dogs that cause my skin to itch and swell.
I’m also incredibly allergic to any and all pollens. It doesn’t matter if it is a low or a high pollen count day, my histamines will go into overdrive at the very sight of any grass, tree or otherwise living (or once-living) plant or flower. Regardless of the season, there is always something to sniffle about since I’m also allergic to dust and mold. So, if it’s raining, it’s the mold that gets me; if it’s snowing, it’s the dustmites that get me. And no matter how allergy-proof I’ve tried to make my home, there are always the dogs (and sometimes cats) to sneeze about.
Despite the constant runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy skin bumps I get when I step foot outside, I still love the great outdoors. So do the dogs. And since they’re not allergic, they are always sure to get some good rolling-in-grass time on every walk! In the same spirit, I also made the decision years ago to ignore the urgings of my allergist to ‘get rid of my animals.’
Sure, there are the embarrassing looks I get when I blow my nose like a trumpet in public and the constant congestion that inevitably leads to a sinus infection or two each year. But my allergist didn’t realize that there are also two or three pups (depending on whether or not I’m fostering) that brighten what would otherwise be the uneventful everyday.
And believe me Lucy and Beamer know how to be eventful! They are not the least bit shy about invading my personal space with their histamine-triggering little muzzles. In fact, after an exhilarating walk with Ryan just the other day, Lucy landed muddy paws first onto the pillow where I was comfortably resting my head. Thanks Lucy! And yesterday Beamer found a new excuse to rub his face into my hands every hour that I spent deep in study. Oh, Beamer Beamer!
The pups may always give me something to sniffle about, but they also seem to know just how to help when the hay fever gets the best of me (like today). That’s when their dog sensibilities tell them to be a little less testy and a lot more slothful. Good dogs just know.