â€śI have some good news and I have some bad news,â€ť I told my husband.
â€śGive me the good news first.â€ť
â€śOK. The vet doesnâ€™t think the dogâ€™s ear infections are from a food allergy after all, so we donâ€™t have to keep feeding him that hypoallergenic food,â€ť I said.
â€śHallelujah,â€ť shouted my husband. He was understandably jubilant. We had just come off a month of canine chemical warfare. The special food gave the dog such strong gas, it not only forced us to leave the room, it probably punched a hole in the ozone layer and contributed to global warming. I decided that the reason they call it flatulence is because it knocked us flat off our feet.
â€śAnyway, the bad news is they did some blood tests and found out the dog has some other allergies.â€ť I read from the list the doctor had faxed to me. â€śHeâ€™s allergic to trees, grass, pollen, mold, dust mites, fleas, insects in general, and wool.â€ť
My husband gave me the evil eye of death. â€śSo the dog is basically allergic to everything inside the house and out, right?â€ť he concluded.
â€śYes,â€ť I paused. â€śAnd heâ€™s also allergic to us.â€ť
My husband snorted. â€śCome on.â€ť
â€śHeâ€™s allergic to human dander,â€ť I said.
My husband threw up his arms. â€śI guess the dog is going to have to live in a plastic bubble.â€ť
â€śActually, they want to give him allergy shots,â€ť I told him.
He rolled his eyes. â€śYou know, our actual children werenâ€™t even this much work. Canâ€™t we just give him some Claritin or something?â€ť
I looked at the dog splayed out on the wool rug laden with mold and dust mites and I sighed. â€śGood thing youâ€™re so cute,â€ť I told him. He scratched at his ears.
The next day I drove him to see the pet specialist an hour away. The waiting room was filled to capacity with some pretty miserable looking creatures, and those were just the pet owners. The dogs, of course, did not look much better. Looking around, I suddenly realized where Dr. Seuss got his inspiration: There were old dogs, new dogs, red dogs, blue dogs. Dogs that itched and dogs that sneezed; dogs that twitched and dogs that wheezed. Dogs with no fur and dogs with no hair. Allergic dogs â€¦ everywhere!
I opted not to sit next to the wheezing guy with the matching wheezing bulldog or the lady with blue hair with the hairless cat. I finally settled on a seat next to a woman with a dog at her feet and a cat in her lap.
â€śWow, you have two pets here,â€ť I said, stating the obvious. â€śWhat are their problems?â€ť
â€śAllergies,â€ť she replied, succinctly.
â€śOh really? Me, too,â€ť I said. Not unlike everyone else in the waiting room. â€śWhat are they allergic to?â€ť
â€śThe cat is allergic to the fish in his food.â€ť
I laughed. â€śThatâ€™s funny. A cat thatâ€™s allergic to fish.â€ť She smiled.
â€śWhat about your dog?â€ť I asked.
â€śHeâ€™s allergic to the cat.â€ť
â€” For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Facebook at facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage or on Twitter at @TracyBeckerman.