On a recent trip to the park, Will and Owen and I were walking along a path when both boys noticed a couple approaching with a large dog on a leash. Owen started pointing and exclaiming “Dog! Dog! Dog!” with unfettered joy. Will, meanwhile, hid behind a light pole in fear.
On our way home from the park, Will said, “Mom, I wish I were Owen because then I would love dogs.”
Will, who does love his aunt’s poodles, has been gradually developing a big-dog phobia.
When a big friendly dog comes bounding at Will, eager to play, Will starts shrieking. Our latest big dog incident came in Colorado, when about 3 seconds after we walked in the door of my cousin Emily’s house, Will saw her big friendly dog, Juneau, enter the room. At the mere sight of harmless Juneau, Will jumped from his chair in fright and impaled himself upon his cousin Max’s play fire station, giving himself a bloody lip in the process.
So Rob and I began wondering if we shouldn’t go ahead and get the dog we’ve been thinking of acquiring sooner rather than later. To acclimate the kid. The only problem is a couple years ago Will was diagnosed with a minor dog allergy – in spite of the fact that we’ve never owned a dog. So if we get a dog we need to either get a strictly outdoor dog or go the way of the Obamas and select a hypoallergenic breed.
I’ve been reading more over the past couple nights about these supposedly “hypoallergenic dogs” and to a certain extent, it seems, the whole concept’s a myth. While dogs that are smaller and shed less do seem to create fewer problems for people who are allergic, all dogs produce allergens and it’s hard to predict how an individual will react to any particular dog. Here’s a New York Times article on the subject along with a little a little blurb from about.com.
None of this bodes well for my dreams of getting a shelter mutt and Rob’s dreams of having a big dog like the golden retriever he had growing up.
I’m half inclined to take Will back for the pin-prick tests on the off chance he’s outgrown his allergy. Otherwise we may just need to abandon our plan to welcome an indoor dog into our family and buy ourselves a hypoallergenic iguana.
Anyone have advice when it comes to dogs and allergies?