Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Personal-ish: Why I Can't Have Nice Things

This is why I can't have nice things.

We took Fervor back to the shelter around 3 this afternoon because the allergy thing was getting less ambiguous and more obviously something I wouldn't be able to live with for the next year, five years, twelve years, whatever. Obviously this sucks tremendously for me and the husband; from Fervor's perspective, though, he got a 4-day vacation from the shelter with lots of walks and a couple car rides and now he's back home again.

Part II of the Phalaenopsis profile was already ready to go up tomorrow, so I'll let it go ahead and post, but I'm going to start hiatus early, if it's all the same to everybody, and not post anything after that until the 24th, when I was planning to return. I'll still be around and reading comments and stuff. I just don't feel up to composing new posts for a while.

The odds we'll try again with another dog are, I think, less than 50%.


Liza said...

Oh crap. I'm sorry.

Claude said...

Well damn-it-all-to-hell.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Oh...I'm sorry it didn't work out Mr. S...

Aaerelon said...

That's too bad. Hopefully you'll be able to find a breed that works out. You should maybe babysit one first. You should take a break. You put a lot into you're posts. Just make sure you come back!

Diane said...

Sad. I'm sorry. :(

Unknown said...

Well, damn. Kudos for trying.
*sad for you*

MrBrownThumb said...

Sorry to hear about the dog. I miss my last dog still and he's been gone for years.


paivi said...

I'm so sorry for you and your husband, but I'm sure you made the right decision. And yes, you certainly deserve a break!

Karen715 said...

I'm so very sorry.

CelticRose said...

Oh, no! That's too bad, Mr. S. I'm really sorry to hear it. :(

Mae said...

I'm so sorry for you! I had to give a dog back too and it broke my heart. I hope your family feels better soon.

Ivynettle said...

So sorry for all three of you. :(

Benjamin Vogt said...

It's a no kill shelter, right? Otherwise, you know, you could always just cut your skin off in order to live with / save the dog. I know, you hate me now. I can live with that. I'm not a dog guy, but a cat man, still, this sucks for you guys. All 3 of you. Or 4 with the lizard thing.

mr_subjunctive said...

Benjamin Vogt specifically, and everybody else generally:

They're also Animal Control for the county, so technically they aren't no-kill. It's hard to figure out from the website, but I infer that animals they've decided aren't aggressive or sick, and are adoptable, stay until they're adopted -- there's a dog on the website who came in last June, e.g. Animals which may or may not be adoptable go to foster homes, it looks like, and then are either put up for adoption or euthanized depending on how that goes.

Also, removing my skin is a no-go, because that just brings the immune system that much closer to direct contact with the dog saliva that causes the problem in the first place. What I need is some kind of supplemental skin that can be added on top of what I have already. Some kind of polyurethane coating, maybe. It would also have helped if Fervor hadn't gotten bitey when he got excited. I mean, it was just play-biting, but it was also direct contact with large amounts of saliva, when it happened, and although I tried very hard, my immune system reacts before I can wash my arms.

Also, Nina never did voice an opinion one way or the other about Fervor, and as far as I know they never spoke, so we don't know whether Fervor's exit disappointed or delighted her and probably will never find out.

I'm told, second-hand, that the shelter ran a picture of Fervor (who they were calling by his old name of Jebediah) in the paper last Friday, the day we took him home. The timing could have been better, since people would be most likely to call on the day that the ad first ran, but there's a decent chance that they'll repeat it if he isn't adopted relatively soon.

I don't really worry about his long-term future. He'll be fine. I just wish he could be fine with us, as opposed to someone else.

I have, very tentatively, looked at the shelter website, and petfinder.com, to see if there are any other dogs out there I could be interested in, but it's probably too soon: so far I just wind up thinking about how much better Fervor was than any of these other dogs are. Which is really not a productive way to research.

I did tell the husband today that I wasn't ready to return the crate or other stuff we got for Fervor just yet. So now there's probably a better than 50% chance we'll retry; I just don't know when.

I appreciate everybody's sympathies.

amy grace said...

Since anecdotal evidence is obviously the best, here's some:

As a child, I had a terrible allergy to a pet guinea pig (skin reaction - couldn't touch the pig without breaking out in hives). I gradually overcame it by touching the little guinea with a fingernail only, then the edge of a finger, then a whole finger (!), and eventually acclimated completely.

Only a few years ago (as a twenty-something), I found I was allergic to one of my rescued cats. Unheard of! I am the cat lady! But I was allergic to this one, my nose started running along with a slight generalized rash, after touching her. It took about 6 months for me to get over it, and now I'm not allergic to her at all.

If you can perhaps find a lovable dog living with a long-term foster parent, you could potentially work on gradually overcoming your allergy to the dog over time before such dog lands in your home territory.

Unscientific, but proven. By me. With anecdotal evidence. Which is the best evidence, of course.

Mae said...

Perhaps you could borrow a friend's poodle or other supposedly hypo-allergenic dog and see if you really aren't allergic to that breed. I'm sure some family out there wouldn't mind lending their family member to you for a weekend!

mr_subjunctive said...

amy grace:

That doesn't sound particularly workable for our particular case. We don't really have anywhere else the dog could live (except for outside in the yard, which is not completely fenced-in yet), and it could take a long time to desensitize, and desensitizing might not even work: historically, I've tended to react more strongly to allergens over time, not less. We actually had dogs and cats when I was growing up; I didn't become allergic to cats until I was 11 or 12, and the first dog-related allergy happened in my late 20s.

I'm not saying that people can't desensitize the way you describe, just that I don't think I'm very likely to be one of those people, and it would pose challenges for where and how the dog was to be kept while that happened even if it did work, challenges that we're probably not really equipped to deal with right now.


The problem with that is that we're relatively committed to getting a shelter animal, as opposed to a purebreed, so finding out whether I'm allergic to any particular breed isn't necessarily going to help. I'm not even sure that allergies work that way -- supposedly there are more and less allergenic breeds, but that doesn't necessarily tell you much about any specific dog, which could still be the exception, or about my specific allergies, which may be broader or more specific than the average allergic person's.

And I don't actually like a lot of the hypoallergenic breeds, so restricting ourselves to just those dogs means we're unlikely to get a dog.

The current plan is to do the same thing, but more cautiously -- I did react after the first time we took Fervor out of his cage, but we also played with other dogs that day, so we couldn't pin down the allergies to Fervor specifically. So we came back two days later and did the same thing again, and I didn't react. By that point, I liked him well enough that coming back to check allergies a third time wouldn't have dissuaded me, even if I'd reacted, but with future dogs, I think we're going to have to do more of that before going ahead with an adoption, and I'm just going to have to remember not to get too attached too quickly.

I told the husband last night that I'm willing to go through this kind of thing just two more times. If we have two more dogs that I really, really like and want to adopt not work out due to allergies, then I'm going to just assume I'm allergic to the whole species, give up, and we'll just never talk about dogs again, adopt 200 anoles and let them roam all over the house, and then we'll both become crazy lizard ladies. Or something.

ScreamingGreenConure said...

I'm really, really sorry to hear this. You have my heartfelt sympathy.
if you DO find a breed you can work with, there are actually breed-specific rescues out there. You don't have to give up on a rescue pet.

our friend Ben said...

How devastating, Mr. S.!!! (So sorry to be late commenting, too, I'm just now catching up with things.) I'm with SGConure on the breed rescue thing; I'll bet you could find a German shepherd rescue group near you that would let you visit some of the girls they're fostering. Ditto a local German shepherd club, which would at least let you see how things went with the allergies, and I'm sure they'd keep you in mind if they heard of someone who had to give up their shepherd for whatever reason. I'd also suggest calling local vets; mine always has photos up of dogs in need of adoption, and sometimes someone will have to give up a dog the vets know well and have cared for for years, so they can give you great background information. I agree that calm and not bitey is essential, so you might consider a 1 1/2-year-old who's calmed down. (Shiloh's starting to get there now at 1.) I once got a 1 1/2-year-old female golden retriever who'd flunked out of a breeding program because she proved recessive for cataracts, and she was already beautifully trained. Good luck and the FSM bless!