This is Gryffindor, or Griffin for short. He’s a rescue from TN, that was shipped up north with a few of his litter mates (11 total). His mom was fostered while pregnant so he’s spent his whole life in a foster, not a shelter. So he’s one of the lucky ones.
I’ve wanted a dog since I was pregnant with my first baby. Obviously, we didn’t get one then. That would’ve been stupid. The desire never left. And the time seemed right. After all, we have a home filled with baby gates and baby proofing. And we have a large backyard. Plus, I’m home during the day. And as I am planning on returning to work next school year, I figured now would be the best time. I would have months with a dog, to train him and to watch him grow. By the time I returned to work I would know if he was a dog that would prefer to chill in the house all day, or one that would prefer a doghouse on our enclosed porch with a doggy door.
I had a dog when I was a child. I got him when I was six from my aunt’s neighbor. He was a mutt (I’ve heard conflicting things but German shepherd, some kind of spaniel, etc) and I loved him more than anything. I named him Buck. I’ve also been told that I came up with the name from the movie Uncle Buck and at times my dad would even refer to the dog as Buck melanoma. We had an impeccably clean house. I’m pretty sure my mom vacuumed daily. Buck was an outdoor dog and had free rein of our fenced in yard. When he escaped he would take off like a bullet so we all had to hop in the caravan to find him. He would jump right in the car thinking we were going to my Memere’s house. When in the house, he was trained to stay in the tiled areas, so the kitchen and dining room, or in our mostly finished basement.
I knew, when the thought about getting a dog popped in my head, that any dog I got would not be allowed on the furniture. I love snuggling puppies as much as the next animal lover, and my house may not be nearly as clean as my childhood home was, but on this my husband and I both agreed. A dog would not get free rein of our home. Our couch would not be covered in dog fur and most importantly, our house would not smell like dog (which was a fear of my husband’s). I know it’s not impossible. My childhood kitchen and dining room were open to the rest of the house and Buck would stay in those rooms even without gates.
A few months ago I began researching area rescues and selected one that was just a town over. We applied and were approved. Adopting a dog isn’t cheap and so we waiting and saved, and when we were ready we attended one of the rescue’s adoption events at a local pet store. I wasn’t set on a breed, a gender or an age. The few that I made notes on from the website were all female, and two were older dogs. But then, puppy love happened. I was walking around the cages, petting the dogs, and just watching them. And then I spotted Griffin. He was being walked by a volunteer. I sat down and played with him and fell in love.
We completed the paperwork, got a bed, food, treats, dishes, kennel, leash, poop bags… the whole lot. And we brought him home.
The girls were fascinated by him and laughed and giggled. Our oldest, being the same height as the dog, was a little more hesitant when he started giving her oodles of kisses.
He’s a puppy, just four months old. When shown attention, he gets very excited and happy. When he is just hanging out and we are doing our own thing, he’s content to sleep or chew on his rope (or my sandal). When the girls and I are playing on the floor in the living room, he is in the kitchen/dining room. And he’s perfectly happy. He doesn’t whine, and he doesn’t bark.
I take him outside often but he chooses to go on puppy training pads. He’s not a fan of doors or stairs, or the rain, but once he’s outside he’s happy as a clam. I’m betting he wasn’t taken outside too often while he was fostered. There have been a couple of times when he goes to the bathroom as I put my coat on so maybe that’s a step in right direction.
He’s sleeps in a kennel/crate at night with no problem and seems to be adjusting quite well.
But I’m not.
I have no problem with the hard work. Just today we worked on and just about mastered the command for ‘sit.’ I don’t mind taking him out multiple times a day. I have two safe spots for the girls and am not worried to leave them for ten minutes to go in the backyard with Griffin. And when he whined last night at midnight? I still have babies… multiple times a week someone is whining in the middle of the night.
The problem? I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to him.
Itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion. Even though I wash my hands often. And thinking back, a relative just this past Thanksgiving had her dog with her and after a couple hours I started to feel the same way.
And you know what Google says? Avoid the dog. At this point, I am Griffin’s sole caretaker. The girls are too little to take him out or play with him. And my husband is at work. It also says give the dog a weekly bath and vacuum daily, two things that don’t think I can commit to.
Last night was bad. My eyes were so itchy and red. After sleeping upstairs away from him I did feel better but just a couple hours into today I’m starting to feel it again. So it’s two days in a row now that I’ve taken allergy medication.
I scheduled an appointment with an allergist to be sure. But I know that I can’t (1) avoid the dog to help myself because that’s no life for a dog. That’s neglect and I just can’t do that. And (2) I also cannot (and won’t) commit to taking medication regularly.
It’s devastating. He is the sweetest, most adorable puppy and I adore him. But already I find myself avoiding him while inside the house as to not exacerbate my symptoms. The girls already seem to adore him also. Evie says ‘pup’ and ‘Grf/Gr’ and smiles every time she sees him. She loves to say “soft” when she pets his back.
I’ve put in a call to his foster mom to see if there was anything she used on him (shampoo, etc) that I may be sensitive to but haven’t heard back. Once the girls go to sleep tonight I will give him a bath just in case. And on Thursday I see an allergist.
I’m very upset. If it turns out that I am allergic to him then we will have no choice but to contact the rescue so that they can rehome him. And it won’t just be devastating to give him back, especially not knowing the type of environment he may end up in. But we would also be taking a huge financial hit. We didn’t cheap out. We bought Griffin the best because he is a member of our family. And if we have to send him back we will just end up with a huge pile of supplies that we will never be able to use.
I’ve had this dream of having an a dog that would grow up with my girls. And it may not happen.
I’m not giving up until I know for sure. And I can’t even bear to look at his adorable face as I write this. I never would have anticipated having a possible allergy to a dog. Especially since I had one as a child and have been around dogs as an adult.
It sucks. It sucks a lot.