What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Monday, 29 December 2008


We're looking for a dog.

Beaver's anxiety has subsided a bit. He is sleeping again. He takes his time falling asleep, but at least he does it, and doesn't wake up endlessly. But we have a long way to go yet.

One of the anxiety solutions that crops up again and again is the idea of getting a dog. You know, a boy and his best mate, and all that.

The benefits of owning a dog are well known. And there is a reason people train companion dogs for people with a disability. There is no doubt that Beaver would benefit from having a dog. And there is no doubt our pet cockatiel Charlie would benefit from us having a dog. Currently, Beaver treats her like one, and Charlie's not always too impressed with being hugged and kissed and cuddled.

There is one major issue we faced though. All my life, I have been allergic to all furry creatures. Dogs. Cats. Horses. Even mice. All my life I have wanted a dog. But I only ever had birds, since they were the only safe animal for me (well, not counting a goldfish, but how boring are they?).

Well, guess what?

I've had hypnotherapy for my dog allergy.

And it's gone.

Let me just say that again.

It's gone. Gone!

I went to the vet yesterday. Normally I snivel and sneeze within seconds of walking in. I sat there for about half and hour while the vet examined (and euthanised) a little ringtail possum with a spinal injury. I talked to the man sitting next to me with his injured cat. I patted the cat. I patted two big Labradors who walked in. Nothing. Then I touched my face with my unwashed hands. Nothing.

You can not imagine how exited I was walking out of that vet yesterday.

So. We are going to buy a dog.

The big question is, which one.

I like the idea of a Golden Retriever. They are beautiful dogs, known as very obedient and excellent family pets. They were bred to retrieve ducks etc. shot after hunting, and so if they pick up other animals, they do so gently. They like to swim. And although they have long hair, they shed relatively little - less so than a short-haired Labrador.

But they are expensive, and older dogs are hard to get (I don't really want to do the puppy thing if I can avoid it!). And they may need a fenced garden.

I also like the idea of a rescue dog. You know, giving a dog another chance at a good life. They are way cheaper. And they are older and you know the animal's temperament. Problem here though is two-fold. There are mainly smaller dogs and most of them are what I - surely unfairly but still that's how I feel about them - walking barking toilet brushes. Or oversized rats. And of course some of them have had a rough life, and I'm not sure they would be OK in our already busy family life.

I have e-mailed some retriever breeders and kennels to see if any of them have older dogs for sale. Of course I thought about the companion dog thing - but the waiting list for one of them is about two years and I don't fancy waiting that long... Also, we can afford to buy our own dog, so it would feel wrong to take one of those very special dogs.

We might end up with a rescue dog we fall in love with (we're planning to go and have a look later this week). Or we might end up with a little puppy after all.

Part of me is really excited to finally have a dog. Part of me thinks "Gosh, do we really need another creature in this mad household?" But there is no doubt that all three the children would greatly benefit from having a dog, and hubby would have a companion to take on his early morning walks.

The things we do for our kids eh?

And a Post Script for Oma Helma: Ja, het werkt echt. Als we inderdaad een hond kopen betalen WIJ voor jou hypnotherapie om van jou allergie van af te geraken. Hier of in Belgie, dat is eender. En ook voor Tante Anita als dat nodig is. Het werkt echt hoor, net zoals stoppen met roken...


Anonymous said...

May I suggest - there are trainee Guide Dogs that fail to measure up in some way or other as Guide Dogs, but they are terrific dogs, are not puppies and are well-trained. You might want to enquire from Guide Dogs Australia?
I hope you find a great dog for your family.

Jessy said...

Congratulations :)
Im soo excited for you and cant wait to meet the newest member of the family, and another pro is possum might grow out of his fear of dogs.

Robjess said...

Wow thats excellent that you are over your allergies..

And I have wanted a dog for ages. I always had one as a kid - but Annabelle insists that we shouldnt have a dog right now as there wont be anyone at home during the day. :(

I'll just some and make friends with your dog :)

Erin said...

Hey. Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog, and that I hope the whole dog thing works out. My family has two, and they are great pets. :)

I'd like to get a helper dog one day!

anita said...

Hallo liebe Heike!!!
Ich habe die letzten Jahre bei Hunden keine Allergie mehr festgestellt. Einfach nur so, warum weiss ich nicht. Katzen habe ich nicht getestet, kommen aber dann bei Euch wohl nicht in Frage. Ist das nicht toll?
Tante Anita