I love dogs — animals of all shapes and sizes, for that matter. I always pictured myself having several dogs and cats once I settled down, owned a home, had kids, and slowed down the travel schedule a bit.
I was devastated, however, when I met my husband and learned that he couldn’t stand dogs. Not only did he dislike them, but he put his foot down and said that he would never get a dog. I was hurt and shocked. I couldn’t believe that this man with whom I was compatible in every important way could have such an obvious character flaw… or, at least that’s how I saw it at the time. I later learned that, although he adores most other animals, his aversion to dogs was based on growing up in rural Massachusetts where he was chased by packs of local dogs while riding his bike home from school. This, of course, was more the result of irresponsible dog owners who did not bother with fences, training or supervision of their pet pooches. Though I was sensitive to his plight, I had my own childhood memories of growing up with a loving and loyal dog, and I wanted our children to be able to have that sort of companionship.
For those of you who know me either personally or through this blog, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not one to easily admit defeat. Let’s just say that after several years of cajoling, persuading, and giving birth to our two children, my now-almost-perfect husband finally came around to my way of thinking. Well, at least he’s willing to let the girls and I get a dog without too much griping. He even went so far as to spend the entire day yesterday installing the underground electric dog fence around our yard without my even having to ask!
Another step of the process was to have my five-year-old allergy tested. Although my three-year-old shows no allergic symptoms, my oldest daughter struggles with both allergies and asthma. She’s highly allergic to cats, and it goes without saying that I didn’t want to introduce a new pet into our home that would result in any kind of health problems for her. She was so eager about the prospect of getting a new pet that she patiently and without complaint went through the allergy testing process. She received 35 scratch tests on her back, and asked for extra ones for guinea pigs, turtles, and frogs. (The doctor said that she probably didn’t need to test for the amphibians.) We were both elated to learn that she is not allergic to dogs.
We’ll be travelling for much of the next month, but we’ll return in time for the girls to start first grade and preschool. That will likely be the time we start seriously looking to adopt the newest furry member of our family.
Any recommendations about the dog adoption process or particular breeds or mixes that you’d recommend? I’ve had an Irish Setter, a Chow Chow, and a Boxer. We’ll probably lean towards something that sheds a little less or is known for being particularly good with children and reluctant husbands.