New addition to our family + {how to cope with pet allergies}

After countless emails asking to see our newest addition, I thought I would do a quick post and let you all see our baby.

All I can say is, it had been a long time coming!  The boys had begged us for years, but we were never able to take the plunge due to K’s allergies.  In fact, his allergies were so bad that it forced us to find a new home for our very first baby, Sneakers (a beautiful, long-haired, devoted to PT and myself…..but exceedingly snobby cat).  I still miss her!

With one of us flying the coup, we I thought it was time to investigate the possibility.  Please let me introduce the newest love of our life:

Puppy

He was born on April 2, 2013 and came into our lives on June 2.  Yep, 2 days after B’s graduation.  What in the crap were we thinking?  We hadn’t even had the graduation party yet and we were adding a puppy into the mix!  B, of course, wanted to name him Little B, or B squared!  LOL!

Puppy

K wanted to name him Doggy after his look-alike stuffed animal {named Doggy}, that he received when he was about 18 months old.  This picture is actually a miniature version of the actual stuffed animal, as he has loved on that dog every day for the past 14+ years.  Many ‘surgeries’ later he still has a place of honor on K’s pillow each night.  Wow….did I really let that little secret out of the bag?!  Shhh….

Puppy

I was in awe at how easy he fit right into our family!  I also forgot the exhaustion you feel when you have a baby in the house.  Phew!  For him to fall asleep on his back a few days after his arrival, I knew that he felt safe and secure in our family environment.   How irresistible he is…….

Puppy

No matter how much research I did on Shih-Poo’s (Shih Tzu ~ Poodle combination) , I knew that there was a high probability that I would have to find him a new home, as K’s physical health was our utmost concern.  It is not just the dander that effects K, but the saliva as well….but with each breed it is different!  Crazy, I know!  After a long talk with his doctor, I had to come up with a back up plan, and actually was able to come up with 4.  These gracious friends were willing to be Plan B if needed.  I think I held my breath for the first month, much to K’s annoyance! I don’t know if he was more annoyed with me going blue in the face from lack of oxygen, or the daily inquisition he received!  LOL!

Puppy

For those of you that don’t know……dog allergens are very sticky, adhering to clothing, furnishings, and even walls.  They are pesky and can stay in the air for hours and remain potent for weeks.  We are talking dander, saliva and even the urine!  Now you can understand why I was holding my breath!

Puppy

  • Wash your hands immediately after you pet your dog. Try to keep your hands away from your face, particularly your eyes, until you can wash up. Depending on the severity of your allergy and the frequency of your contact with your dog, you may want to shower and change your clothing several times during the day.  We are a family who washes their hands frequently anyways—–I am a germ-a-phobe!
  • Have your dog brushed regularly; daily would be ideal.   Rudy doesn’t shed, but he does get regular brushing from me, and will be keeping his coat short. 
  • Bathe your dog frequently. Some vets recommend weekly baths and shampooing with a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. Take your dog to a groomer or have a nonallergic family member take care of bathing. Wash your dog’s bedding and toys weekly, too.  We do not give Rudy baths every week.  We were told by our vet and groomer that frequent baths will dry out his skin.  In fact, he doesn’t get baths at all.  Rudy LOVES showers and actually whines every morning when I don’t pick him up and put him in with me!  We cave into his needs every 2 weeks and use an organic oatmeal puppy shampoo.  K does not take part in any of his grooming needs.
  • Keep your dog out of your bedroom and off your bed at all times. Cover your mattresses, box springs, and pillows with zippered, plastic, allergyproof cases. Purchase pillows and mattresses with nonallergenic polyester filling.  We follow this rule entirely, except we look for 100% cotton bedding as K is allergic to polyester.  Since Rudy is potty trained at night, we are allowing him to sleep with P and myself.  We keep K’s door closed so he is not able to get in at all.
  • Avoid heavy carpets, curtains, or upholstered furniture that attract the sticky little allergens. If you do have carpeting, have it steam-cleaned several times a year. Wash walls, floors, and baseboards regularly. (How often depends on the severity of your allergies and on your dog.)  I am thankful that we have leather couches, with a few upholstered chairs.  I hate to say that we do have carpeting in 90% of our house, and we do own our own steamer so that we can clean the carpets whenever we feel the need.  My goal has always been to have hardwood floors throughout the entire house, but it has never been in the budget.
  • Use a room air purifier containing a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. This will remove some of the dander in the air.  K has had an air filter in his room since he was 2 years old.  It is a god send!!!
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system. This helps pick up more of the dander from your floors, and traps it.  Yes, yes….yes, follow this to the ‘T’!!
  • Replace central heating/cooling system air filters and humidifier filters frequently. Make sure vent and furnace filters are efficient.  Once again…..we follow this to a ‘T’!
  • Open windows and doors as much as possible and use exhaust fans to keep your home well-ventilated.  This is a catch 22 for us, as K is allergic to numerous outdoor elements, including grass, 5 species of trees that are in our yard and in the neighbors yard, and mold!  We also live across from farmland, which gets stirred up a few times a year and I don’t want that dust coming into our windows.
  • Keep dust to a minimum. Wipe surfaces often with a damp cloth and vacuum instead of sweeping (it stirs up less dust). Store books in glass-enclosed shelving. Wear a dust mask while cleaning.  Yeah, I can just see K in a dust mask!  Maybe when he has his own place he will have to do this, but in the meantime, I do his dusting.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking lowers your tolerance to allergens and aggravates your already-sensitive lungs.  No brainer for us, none of us smoke AND I have threatened K within an inch of his life if he ever picks up a cigarette.

Family Dog

If you are suffering from animal allergies and are wanting a dog, I highly recommend these sites…….

Better Homes and Garden

Discovery Fit and Health

WebMD

Thank you for taking such an interest in our furry little guy!  He has been a blessing (and a curse, sometimes) in our lives, and I am so happy that it is currently working.  If you happen to be one of the 4 Plan B’s, I am still keeping you in my back pocket if needed for the future!  You are not off the hook yet!

A bonus to having a dog in the house?  Getting to come up with very clever ways of keeping him out of the dining room!  Couldn’t resist….sorry!  I still love this little door!

DIY Dog Gate
How to turn a picture frame into a Dog Gate!

Until next time…….

                           Shaunna

4 thoughts on “New addition to our family + {how to cope with pet allergies}

  1. Pingback: My Hero……why him? | anahikristian

  2. Its a heart touching feeling when we lose our closest thing whether its an object or living thing. I would love to be with pups. I like the way you have explained to cope up with pet allergies.

  3. OMG!!!!!! Rudy is beyond adorable! I’m so very jealous ;(. I miss my grand dog so much (he’s overseas). I love little, furry pups that can fit on your lap. Rudy is precious! Many, many happy years together!

    • Thank you! Who knew that I could fall so completely in love with a dog? Cat, yes, but I am seriously NOT a dog person. He has me wrapped around his little paw. I hope you get to see you grandpup soon!!

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