Joco 913

Before adopting furball, check for allergies

One of the Labrador puppies in training to be a guide dog in “Pick of the Litter.”
One of the Labrador puppies in training to be a guide dog in “Pick of the Litter.” .

A friend recently got a puppy for her daughters. She had been promising a dog for quite some time, so when the day came, it was an enormous deal.

The puppy-acquiring day was a joyous time for everyone. There were oodles of puppy kisses and wiggles and giggles and piddles on everyone. My two daughters are good friends with the new proud puppy parents, so they immediately wanted to meet the cute addition to their family.

Watching the friends pass around the puppy and taking their long-awaited turns playing with the little fluff ball warmed my heart. It was so tiny and cute, only 5 pounds; plus, it couldn’t jump up and knock down guests like our charming but clumsy goldendoodle does.

But after meeting the best furry news in the neighborhood, the dynamics in my friend’s house changed. The wiggles, giggles and tickles turned into severe sniffles, wheezes and watering eyes. Unbeknownst to the mom, she learned she was allergic to the puppy. It wasn’t just a little sniffle here and there, but a full out allergy that wasn’t going to get better with a dose of Claritin.

When the text came to me a week later, informing me the puppy was going to be returned to the original owner, I was filled with sadness for their family. They had been thrilled for their life with a dog, especially the mom. But now that dream had to be quashed. The final parental decision had to be devastating. Nothing makes a parent happier to see their kids full of joy and love.

My girls took the news hard, but mostly because they felt so bad for their friends. It’s hard watching people you care about go through sad times.

I don’t know how often this scenario occurs, where families discover severe pet allergies and the new love has to be returned. I couldn’t find any statistics of pet returns due to allergies. It’s interesting, though, that the same thing happened to my family when I was 10 or so.

Of course this was quite some time ago and my memory may not be entirely accurate, but the story was my parents got a little dog for my younger brother. He was a big animal lover, and in addition to his collection of reptiles and a couple of house cats, he required a dog.

I have no idea how old the dog was, but I know the sandy-colored mutt, formerly known as Randy, only lasted two weeks in our home. Unfortunately, my mother discovered her allergy to dogs as well. My brother was broken up about having his best friend taken back to the pound; but over time he recovered and moved on to bigger and better lizards and snakes.

It wasn’t a preferred replacement for my Dad and me, but we never really had a vote in our household’s reptile acquisitions. Did I mention my mom is a lover of reptiles?

Blast ahead 40 years, and our friend’s puppy was just returned. She was last seen wagging her tail and playing with another fluff ball about her size. We’ve let our friends know they’re welcome to play with our “doodle” anytime they want. After all, her breed is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed.

Hopefully, since the young girls only shared one week together, the pain won’t be too hard. But if you learn from my brother, you can take the puppy out of the house, but the memories of those precious few days will remain forever.

I’m sure the darling fluff ball will adopt another family real soon. Plus, when they are ready, my brother would highly recommend a bearded dragon.

Stacey Hatton can be reached at