Bringing Home Puppy: Nesting

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The little guy we’re meeting!

Nesting. Some may not know that term. My ninth grader didn’t, so I explained what it meant to “nest.” To prepare for the arrival of a new little one. The washing of tiny onesies and stocking up on wipes. Some to-be moms clean as well. I was always more into the shopping and preparing of things though. This time is no different.

But there is no baby joining our family. No. Those days have long past for this momma of four (knock on wood). We are bringing home a new puppy soon! The crate has arrived. The snacks and food have been researched and secured. Leash, check. Bowls. Blankets. And my youngest has found her calling in picking out dog toys. Hence the need for a nondestructive toy bin ASAP.

We are an allergy-prone family, so this new addition is HUGE for our family. Between us, there’s asthma, eczema, food allergies, latex issues, and a plethora of environmental allergies. Enough to keep us buying Nasacort and Allegra year around. Two of my children are allergic to dogs. Most every dog. This has been an issue of sadness, not only for the allergic ones but the non-dog allergic as well.

My oldest daughter started researching “hypoallergenic” dog breeds many months ago. I tried not to encourage her, knowing that allergens are found in more than just the fur. In time I became cautiously hopeful, yet still doubtful, watching her search from the sidelines. Eventually, I was doing my own searching and asking of questions. From Goldendoodles to standard poodles to schnauzers, we considered them all. Greyhounds even. None seemed like a perfect fit though.

Then my daughter suggested a breed that I’d never heard of: Native American Indian Dog (NAID). I googled for pictures and was very suspicious. The dogs were/are beautiful, stately even. Compared to the breeds found on most “hypoallergenic” dog lists, there appeared to be a mistake. The NAIDs—and off-shoot varieties like the Native American Shepherd (NAS)—have a dense coat that is either short or long-haired, supposedly shedding only once a year. The discovery seemed too good to be true.

Evidently the NAID is a newer breed, a kind of designer mix to resemble what native dogs of America looked like long ago. Online there seems to be some contention about what those long-ago dogs did or didn’t look like. But I wasn’t too worried about all that. We just wanted a dog that would work within our family. Something we could love that was fluffy and cuddly, but tolerable allergy wise.
Some NAIDs have a wolf-like appearance, but they have the same wolf lineage as any regular dog. Alas, some breeders of wolf hybrids, or wolf dogs, are possibly using the NAID name/resemblance to more easily sell hybrid pups in states where wolf dogs are illegal. Always check out a potential breeder extensionally.

By mid-February, I’d started reaching out to breeders and people who actually owned NAIDS. The testimonials regarding allergies were all the same. Something magical started to happen: the impossible seemed possible. Maybe. At least it seemed worth the risk of trying: heartbreak and disappointed kids.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of finding a NAID in need of a home at a shelter is probably next to zero. There aren’t many breeders of NAIDS in the US. After more research, I settled on a NAID breeder about eleven hours away. I liked that she didn’t plaster a hypoallergenic guarantee on her website. Being an allergy mom for so long teaches you that there are no guarantees. What works for us may not work for other dog-allergic families and vice versa. Our breeder was just as cautious. We exchanged many emails, texts, and lengthy phone calls. I felt confident my family was on the right path. Having allergies in her own family, the breeder understood our dilemma and was willing to work with us in our pursuit of puppy ownership.

There’s a chance our puppy won’t be coming home with us. If one of the kids react to the dog, it’s all over. The dream shattered. We all know this. It’s THE thing we all know but keep hidden just behind hope. I want the hypoallergenic claims to be true, but we shall see. I’m an optimist, but still, wishful thinking cannot change everything.

While waiting for the big day to arrive, we’ve watched our puppy grow quickly through photographs and videos. I believe it’s possible to grieve something or someone you’ve never held. Love is a tricky thing. So even though nesting is underway and travel plans have been made, we might come home with empty arms. Pickup day will either be one of our family’s best days ever or one of the most disappointing. I keep this fear folded away and focus on researching the complexities of new puppy decisions. Collar or harness? Shot schedules. Rawhide or nylon for chewing?
Stay tuned! Updates to follow.

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