Meet Savannah

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about saying yes to a pet . . . a dog, to be precise. We’ve been saying no to a dog for many reasons for many years, but we finally relented in order to try to provide my daughter with a special friend to call her own.

We knew it was risky to bring a dog into our home with our allergy history, and we had been warned by well meaning friends and family not to add the stress of a dog into our lives. But while the hermit crabs are fascinating to watch, they don’t exactly give you the companionship and affection you can get from a dog. So. We decided to look into it.

I had to keep telling my kids we were “looking into it” lest they hold me to a promise I couldn’t keep.

We thought we knew what we wanted — a smallish 2- or 3-year old non-shedding dog of some type. I was already smitten with a neighbor’s shih tzu, so that is the one we had on our radar. Once we had agreed to pursue dog ownership, I contacted my friend at All 4 Paws Rescue, a foster-based, no-kill animal rescue that is saving dogs that otherwise would be put down. You REALLY need to read their About Page to see what all they do — and to understand the fate that these animals would face without them. I had no idea.

Several of my neighbors have found their dogs through this fabulous organization, and I trusted my friend not to steer us wrong, but they didn’t have exactly what we were looking for so we decided to wait.

Meanwhile I was contacted by Debbie at Fernridge Labradoodles. Evidently labradoodles are great dogs for people with allergies, and we talked with Debbie at great length and debated our options. I mean, just look at this face . . .

While some labradoodles can grow to be quite large, these will grow to be in the 30-40 pound range, and we gave this option great consideration.

We looked around at a lot of websites, and I asked questions on my Facebook page and got lots and lots and LOTS of advice.

Who knew there were so many issues surrounding choosing a dog!???

It goes well beyond what variety of dog you want; there is the whole rescue vs breeder debate as well (and let’s not even get into the process of finding a breeder that isn’t a puppy mill . . . gah!)

We finally came to the conclusion that it really depends on your needs and wants. I’m thankful there are so many options available, but it sure does make the decision making process stressful.

We decided to try the rescue route first, and if we had allergy issues then we would pursue a reputable breeder such as Debbie.

Last weekend we got a call that All 4 Paws had a shih tzu for us to meet. She was turned in as a stray in Philadelphia, which we discovered actually means that her owners probably didn’t want to spend the fee to turn her in but wanted to give her more time before she was euthanized (stray hold is 72 hours and owner surrenders don’t have to be given any time before they are put down especially if the shelter is full). Isn’t that crazy!!??

We went to meet her and immediately fell in love — all five of us. She is the sweetest thing.

She lets the kids carry her around like a doll, she rarely barks, she doesn’t get on the furniture, she never piddles in the house, and she follows my daughter around like she hung the moon.

She is everything we wanted in a dog and then some.

Except, my asthma immediately began to protest. To be fair, I had already compromised my delicate immune system earlier in the week by spending some time in the company of cats, and we weren’t sure if I was reacting more to the new dog or life in general. But when my kids started sniffling, I panicked and started preparing them to return her. It was a very sad couple of days around here. She is such a perfect fit for our family, it seemed so unfair that we would all fall in love with her only to lose her.

Then something really strange happened. I went away on a press junket, and when I returned I didn’t have any reaction to the dog at all. The kids seemed fine as well. I still can’t believe it, but everyone seems to be adjusting.

Which means . . .

Savannah is here to stay!

In fact, today is Adoption Day! This afternoon we will sign the final papers and she will be ours.

So be prepared for the onslaught of doggie photos that is sure to come. Don’t ever say I didn’t warn ya!

Comments

  1. Beth says

    Yay! I’m so glad you guys adjusted and will be able to keep her! I’m sure your kids are thrilled. Savannah looks a lot like my parents dog Nutmeg, I’m sure you guys will have a great time with her :)

  2. says

    Congratulations! Can’t wait for the dog posts. I love happy endings for these rescued pups. We adopted a sweet boy 8 months ago. We believe he had been abused and never received love. He was scared of everything and everyone. It’s amazing what love can do! Eight months later, he is a different dog!

  3. Shannon says

    Oh ~ she is sooooooo cute!!!!

    This is off the topic of your newest family member but you mentioned your compromised immune system and I started searching your blog for information on it. Would you consider doing an updated post on your hypothyroid? I began reading and researching about some issues I’ve been dealing with for the last three years and most of the information is pointing to either hypothyroid or an auto immune disorder (which run strongly in my mom’s family.) I’m curious how you are controlling it without medication, especially since right now I’d give anything to take a pill that curbed some of the symptoms. Much thanks.

    • says

      Hi Shannon. My hypothyroid is VERY mild – so mild that I don’t really detect any noticeable symptoms. At least, the symptoms I do credit to the thyroid (thinning hair, namely) weren’t relieved with meds.

      I was on a low dose of synthroid for a couple of years, and then I went off it and then tried armour thyroid. I forgot to refill that and never went back to it.

      I’d rather not be on meds if I don’t have to be, but neither have I taken the time to research the issue, so I do not recommend my approach.

      My guess is that there are ways to treat it naturally (at least a mild case such as mine) but I haven’t been motivated enough to do the work.

      I’m sure none of that is helpful to you in the least, my apologies!!!! :-) I wish you the best of luck.

      • Susan says

        Had to butt in here. There are not really any clinically proven ways to treat a low functioning thyroid “naturally.” Armour thyroid is ground up pig thyroid. TSH levels can fluctuate quite a bit when on armour because…well, your dose is batch dependent on the pig. However, some people swear by Armour and say their symptoms improve dramatically.

        IF one pill a day helps keep my weight in check and keeps my memory from plummetting me into the Alzheimers unit @ 40 then, eh, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve taken care of lots of people over the years who try to treat it “naturally” and I’ve never seen anything get the numbers down and the symptoms under control. I am ALL about complementary medicine, but this is just one thing I’ve never seen effectively treated without tried and true thyroid supplementation on a daily basis.

        • says

          That’s all fair enough, and as I said, I haven’t done enough research to comment intelligently.

          Here is my question. WHY is it so common? What is it about our modern society that makes it such a comment ailment? Was it always so common? Do we know?

          Honestly my numbers are so borderline that I haven’t taken the time to seek out answers. The only reason I am not on meds is b/c I am lazy and my symptoms aren’t severe enough for me to make it a priority.

          All that to say, I do not disagree, but I also wish I knew more b/c it seems that if it is such a common problem, there is probably a common issue in the standard American diet – something we are missing or whatever. But there seem to be no easy answers – beyond synthroid.

  4. says

    Fun! I hope the good luck with the allergies continues.

    To let you know you’ve influenced me–we’re taking our son to a chiropractor and pursuing alternate treatment for his grass allergy and related asthma, at least before we consider more invasive options.

    • says

      Now see that is interesting! My daughter has severe grass allergies — spring is horrific for her. I have never pursued chiropractors; it makes me nervous to be truthful. But I have heard that you can get some pretty amazing results with them. I’ll be curious to hear how it goes.

  5. says

    We had allergy testing done on my daughter and found she’s allergic to dogs. That was super upsetting as we have two dogs. The doctor told us not to worry since our dogs aren’t big time shedders and just make sure they don’t sleep in her room. We take care to make sure the living room is vacuumed since our dogs stay in there when inside most of the time but it hasn’t been a problem.

    She’s 15 and doesn’t like to take meds but we had her taking Zyrtec for awhile after the testing was done. She won’t take it now unless her allergies start acting up (teenagers, arg) but the dogs don’t seem to be causing any problems for her.

    • says

      That is good to hear. I know a lot of people with dog allergies successfully own dogs. I am hoping we will do okay with her. We have been keeping her out of the upstairs bedrooms, and her crate is in a room we rarely use. We’re taking all the proper precautions like changing out air filters and keeping her bathed and her hair short. I’m waiting to see how we do through the winter, when we tend to get colds and asthma symptoms. I hope she doesn’t exacerbate those by adding to the load. That will be the true test. But for now we are hopeful!

  6. Virginia says

    Congrats to your family and Savannah! You are setting a wonderful example by adopting a rescue dog – I hope other readers will be inspired to adopt because of you!

  7. Jessica M. says

    So glad your daughter (and the entire family) has a special friend!! I was NEVER a dog person until my husband found an abandoned mixed breed puppy 4 years ago and the rest is history. Once he brought her home she was just too precious to take to the shelter and we decided to keep her. Everything definitely has NOT been sunshine & roses with the dog, but overall I wouldn’t trade her for anything!! She has taught us so much and has really been a blessing to me through the struggle with infertility. She gives me something fun & exciting to look forward to every day…how can I possibly be in a bad mood after seeing how excited she gets when I come home from work? :)

  8. says

    Congrats!! I am technically allergic to cat and I had one for 14 years. It must be mild allergies you build up a tolerance.
    So happy for you, My kids rush home to see the dogs. May your kids do the same. Also the red staining sometimes is from the water and Ivory baby shampoo works well to keep them white. I had a white dog for many years.

  9. Monique says

    How exciting! Congrats on your new addition! We have 2 chocolate labs and I can’t imagine my life without them :)

  10. says

    We have two shih tzus and absolutely adore them, they are the best little pets! My daughter us super allergic to dogs, and I am always concerned that they aggrivate her symptoms, but she seems the same whether here or away, and loves them so much it seems worth the sniffles and meds to have them.

    Congratulations on the addition of your sweet Savannah! She is absolutely darling! (The fact that she doesn’t piddle on the floor makes her one in a million- and me a little jealous:-) I have to constantly be on guard for mine!)

    • says

      Oh no! Don’t tell me that. So far, so good with Savannah and the piddling. The allergy thing SEEMS to be okay at present. We will only know for sure once we get thru cold season and then spring allergy season. We sure are enjoying her, though!!

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