Full disclosure: Constance and I are both allergic to Rosie. We didn’t know it when we brought her home. She just seemed like the sweet, cuddly pet she is, falling asleep on my lap after she had run herself ragged chasing a ball or a piece of crumpled up paper. But for Constance, in particular, the watery eyes and scratchy throat soon started. Wherever Rosie had been, the symptoms followed. For me it came several months later, but come it did. When Rosie is nestled against me, resting comfortably, my skin feels like it’s starting to come alive — her rubbing next to me creates some kind of epidermal reaction.
Franklin never enjoyed being on the bed much — he can’t stay still for too long — but cat-like, Rosie would like nothing better than to curl up under our noses as we sleep. It’s not possible, alas. Constance would be wheezing all night, and I’d be slapping at my skin. Since Constance has it worse than I do, Rosie is also not allowed to hang out on her spot on the couch — which she does every chance she gets. So we put a towel there that Constance can remove when she wants to sit down.
We’re actually among the lucky allergic ones. Some people are much more allergic to their dogs than we are. In rare cases, when a dog’s allergy makes it difficult to breathe, the pet has to be heartbreakingly re-homed. In most instances, however, people can hold onto their allergy symptom-causing pets by taking extra precautions in the home, with their clothing, and with their dog’s grooming regimen. The story beginning on page 10 tells the necessary steps to take.
I should note that while some people have problems with their dogs in their own homes, others have problems with dogs in certain public places. Not because they’re allergic. It’s because the dogs are not really well-behaved enough to be able to sit quietly in, for instance, restaurants, museums, airplanes, and so on.
These dogs are not service dogs who help the blind and others with challenges to life in the wider world. Rather, they offer “emotional support” and don’t have to go through the training that traditional service dogs do. Is it legal to take such a dog into places like eating establishments, theaters, public transportation? In some cases, yes; in others, no. But most people don’t know the rules, and the rules are rather confusing in the first place. For a clear picture on whether Fido is allowed in the banquette next to yours in a place like a fancy restaurant, read the article beginning on page 8.
Happy tails to you,