Bringing Home Puppy: Dog Allergic

#allergictodogs #dogallergies #puppy #newpuppy #fate

This is probably the blog post most people want to read about: how an allergy-prone family has a fluffy puppy living in their home. Honestly, it’s still mindboggling to me. With over six weeks under our belt, I can finally write about our experience.

In Bringing Home Puppy: Nesting, I talked about my kids’ severe dog allergies, and how we were taking a possibly heartbreaking chance attempting to adopt a “hypoallergenic” puppy. If one of the children had reacted poorly to the pup, that was it, our one shot at having a dog in the home was gone.

We left the first morning of spring break to make the six-hour drive to Tennessee. We’d arranged to meet the breeder halfway at 10:30 a.m. I packed for our trip the night before, then took an hour nap on the couch before leaving. By 4:15 a.m. the van was loaded with excited kids. Thankfully, hubby drove most of the trip so I could catch a few Zzzzzs here and there. I was both excited and worried.

It was an easy drive until we hit rain. We decided to meet the breeder at a rest area with covered picnic areas. We arrived first, donned in rain coats. The wait was excruciating, so the girls and I paced the fence flanking a nearby farm. CowIMG_20180402_103734563s came to moo and check us out while the rain pelted down. I watched every vehicle that turned off the expressway. Finally, a car pulls up and a lady pops out leading a beautiful white pup. She heads right for us, saying she figured we were the ones hanging out with the cows.



Full NAID. Gorgeous girl!

We met the first pup as planned, the full NAID (Native American Indian Dog). We spent some time with her; the kids walking and petting and playing with the pup. The adults watching for allergic reactions. My eyes kept wandering back to Tonto, walking in the grass with one of the breeder’s family members. From watching videos and studying pictures of him, I felt certain Tonto was fated to be our dog. His quiet, calm way and soulful eyes reminded me of someone I’d lost not too long ago. MY POPPY

The rain picked up and we moved under the protected area. The kids washed their hands and arms, then we met Tonto (“White Collar” at the time). He was sweet and seemed cautious, but comfortable. Soon, he started to loosen and move his tail. We petted him as he brushed past our bare legs. We waited. And then, my son showed me a couple of small, raised hives on his wrist. My daughter, the one who started our puppy search way back in the fall, admitted that her palms felt itchy. At this point we weren’t sure which dog they’d reacted to. The cool, pollen-damp air didn’t help either; all of our noses were dripping. We had gotten so close to owning a puppy, only to be confronted with the heartbreak I’d feared so much. ☹

The kids washed up again. Knowing that only the white pup had licked them, we continued on with our Tonto visit—having the kids hold the pup close and bury their faces into his coat. We talked over our options and waited and talked some more. The breeder agreed to meet us later in the week if things didn’t work out. Emotionally, I knew that returning the pup would be a lot harder than walking away in that moment, but I had this feeling that us adopting Tonto was meant to be. We had to try.

So, we signed the sales contract and said our goodbyes to the breeder. By one o’clock, we were heading down the highway toward the clear skies of Virginia. Tonto curled himself between my two girls and napped. It took us a little over six hours to get back home. The entire time, I heard not one cough or sniffle or sneeze.

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The next couple of days were busy with puppy care, but I was watchful for any allergic reactions. My son did get a couple of small hives on his wrist after being licked, which resolved with soap and water. I kept in touch with the breeder because someone was interested in giving Tonto a home if we couldn’t. It was only fair to the pup that I take him back immediately if I knew things weren’t going to work out. Fortunately, that never happened. 😊

For a puppy, Tonto is very affable and calm. Not much of a licker or biter. And no shedding—only a few “Tonto dust bunnies” here and there. He lives in the house, sleeps on the couches, rolls around and plays with the kids. Other than the initial contact hive episodes (which could have been related to what the pup had ingested recently. we have food allergies, too), our allergies are the same as always. Pollen season was probably not the smartest time to trial bringing a pup into the home though. But honestly, I see no difference. No drainage from noses/eyes, sneezing, or asthma. Skin issues/eczema are the same. And, no, they have not outgrown their dog allergies; both kids still react to other dogs. I can’t explain it, but my children are tolerating this puppy beautifully.

We took our time researching. This breed may not be the answer for other allergic families, but for us, I’m so thankful we took the chance. I’m a very careful allergy mom, so this was a HUGE leap of faith. Beyond huge actually! And to prove that he fits in perfectly, Tonto was recently diagnosed with pollen allergies (eyes).


Bringing Home Puppy: First Six Weeks

#newpuppy #puppymamaistired #puppy #love #writingaboutit

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It’s been six weeks since we brought our new pup home. Tonto is four months old! I can’t believe how much he’s transformed since PICKUP DAY. The days and weeks have rolled through in a blur. The piled-up laundry is mostly under control, so I’m at a good place to reflect on the new-puppy journey thus far.

I lost a lot.

Sleep mostly. Yes, I’ve lost lots of sleep. Navigating through the trenches of both crate and POTTY TRAINING contributed to my lack of Zzzzs. Puppies are like small children: no matter what time they go to bed or how many times they’ve been up during the night, they will awaken at the same time each morning.

I lost my bed. In the beginning, the first couple of nights, I actually slept on couch cushions pushed next to the crate. I sang to Tonto when the midnight moon peeked through the living room curtain, and again at one and two a.m. Gradually, in nights that passed like shift work, I moved to the couch. A couple of weeks later, to the next room. By the end of the month, after pulling out the baby monitor from storage, I even slept in my own bed. That would prove to be short lived though. Future post: CRATE CONFINEMNT

Writing time? Me time? Let’s not even go there. 😦


I’ve also lost tangible things. Why? Maybe my mind is mucky and worn-out. I don’t know really. It’s so unlike me. Most notably, I lost my favorite lip gloss, a cheap pair of sunglasses, and something else that I really can’t remember.

I lost my breakfast at least twice. From dropping, not the unsettling gastro way. The last time was after a long night spent calming the pup. I’d managed to make the youngest child a decent breakfast the next morning, rushing to get her to school on time. While trying to lock the backdoor, hold the leash, and carry my stuff—including a perfectly made avocado toast that I’d only managed one bite from, I lost it. The toast hit the ground greenside down. Tears sprung to my eyes as I quickly scooped the mess up into a poop bag, knowing that avocados are not allowed for pooches.

That was probably one of the lowest moments of the first month. Sleep deprivation can make anyone feel lost. Forgetful. There were a couple more tear-worthy moments. MOMENTS. But, the hours and days and weeks of what I have gained make all the bad moments so worth it.


I’m exercising more (even lost a few pounds). Family time has increased beautifully, revolving around the puppy. We’ve met a lot of new dog and human friends, forcing this introverted, more-of-a-cat-person momma out of her shell.

I’ve gained and lost focus. Other than checking email on my phone sporadically, I did not open my inbox on the lab top for FOUR weeks! I missed several school volunteer and/or donation requests. When several big boxes from Amazon arrived on my front porch, I realized I’d forgotten to skip the monthly “Subscribe and Save” orders. On the flip side, I’m re-learning how prioritizes when time is short or the puppy is sleeping. I actually made a decent Costco run in forty-five minutes flat, including checkout, while my daughter was nearby at an hour-long, rock-climbing class.

The pup has definitely given me a refresher in patience, too. I can only imagine the combined hours I’ve spent walking around the yard in damp socks saying, “potty.” TEETHING pain and the FIRST EMERGENCY VET VISIT have both been enlightening. We’re still in the throes of the former and just recovering from the latter.

But the doggedness has paid off. I see glimpses of the rewards yet to come. Perspective is what I’ve gained the most for all I’ve lost. I have a little fur buddy now. A fluffy tag along. And when he looks right into my soul with those deep brown eyes, I know that I am found.



New Flash Story to Share: Asking

#flashfiction #story #fiction


Shermie Rayne

Bringing Home Puppy: Naming


IMG_20180402_131939563#puppy #namingpuppy

It’s hard not to name something that you love. Like I said in the last blog post Bringing Home Puppy: Nesting, just from watching videos and looking at pictures of our pup, my girls and I had already falling for the fluff bucket. So a week or two before meeting him, the entire family started suggesting names. And lots of them! My goal was to have the list down to five names before meeting the first time. That didn’t happen.

Here’s the longlist:

Augustus “Auggie”

Second Longlist:


Having been shortlisted and longlisted in my writing, I can appreciate the beauty of the short list. I think the family and I did a good job in culling the selection.


We met the puppy! Our puppy. FUTURE BLOG POST COMING! Without further ado, the pup’s name is:

Checklist for Fiction Editing

You’ve finished a first draft of your novel. Now what?

via The Five Stages Of Revising Your Novel — Kobo Writing Life

Culture Shock, flash fiction by Jane Boch (MY SWEET WORD Series)

I love this piece by Jane Boch so much that I need to re-blog it right now! This is a fantastic piece of flash fiction! Thanks for sharing it, Silver Birch Press. 🙂

Silver Birch Press

japanese pastry

Culture Shock
by Jane Boch

Carla no longer trusted chocolate. Her bite into the filled pastry contorted her face with sourness and disappointment.

“Bean paste,” Evan said, laughing.

Carla forced a swallow. “You knew?” she accused.

Carla would be in Japan for three weeks. She hoped this trip would propel her into an engagement with Evan, a U.S. Naval Officer, or prompt them to end the long-distance relationship. She couldn’t imagine marrying a man whose career demanded replacing chocolate with the gooey pastiness of mung beans.

A walk in Evan’s hilltop neighborhood led Carla to an overlook of the bay. Turning from the water view, she glimpsed a sign picturing a loaf of bread. Inside the shop, the fragrance of freshly baked goods, arranged on racks lining the walls, reminded her of the bakery in her hometown. She asked, “Sweet?” while pointing at a croissant topped with sugar.

The baker…

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What a great micro-read to start the week with…



By David Bussell


When the waiter poured the man’s wine and offered a casual ‘Say when,’ the man did no such thing.

Instead he watched, steadfast as the wine filled the glass, until eventually it found the rim and overflowed onto the tablecloth. The waiter cocked an eyebrow as if to say ‘Play fair, sir, say when,’ but the man remained staunch as the wine cascaded off the sides of the table, soaking the carpet and pooling at their feet.

Soon the wine collected around their ankles, then their shins, and still the man said nothing. Sweat beaded the waiter’s brow as the wine flooded to the edges of the restaurant and began pressing at the windowpanes. Say when, the waiter’s eyes screamed. For God’s sake say when! The bottle faltered in his hand but still the man said nothing, so still the wine flowed.

There was a…

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Doubt, Fear, False Alarms & “Giving Birth” To Our Dreams

What encouraging writing words of wisdom to read on such a gloomy Monday !

Kristen Lamb's Blog

If you’re a writer, then you have a dream. You also have a lot of work ahead. I heard an interesting quote this morning from Joyce Meyers. There are dreamers who don’t work and workers who don’t dream. That hit home for me.

After having been around the block a few times, I can say I’ve met both types of writers. Some writers have all these ideas and generally a stack of unfinished work to show for it. They aren’t willing to dig in when it gets hard, when the “fair-weather friends” fall away. On the other side, we have those who write, but are afraid to dream. They’re terrified to dare ask if they could be great.

To be successful we must learn to dream and to be finishers.Starting is easy. There are a lot of people to cheer us on, but watch what happens when the…

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Add words into your child’s daily life . . .

A couple of years back, I decided to add a “word board” to our already cluttered kitchen wall. A nice visual to gaze upon over a bowl of morning cereal, reminding the kids of school. Although, I still read aloud nightly to my children, it’s not enough to combat the increasing infiltration of electronics insidiously creeping into our home—and the school as well. So, with a discarded, glass-less frame and some purchased dry-erase backing, I made the board you see here for less than five bucks.


I began by adding, or updating, two or three words weekly. It wasn’t long before I was scribbling meaningful quotes, mantras, or scripture as well. I want to foster kindness, empathy and other attributes amongst my children, and I believe words have the power to do that. (For a short time, I added a Spanish word-of-the-week, but this didn’t go over so well.) While the weekly “word board” talk about philosophical meaning and/or the definition discussion isn’t mind-blowing, it is often engaging and usually near the mark. Regardless, they are thinking!

Honestly, my kids now seem acceptingly indifferent to the board, and have come to expect it to be updated regularly. Of course, they don’t recall the meaning of every word that’s been presented, but many words, especially those that we’ve made everyday connections to, have become part of their vocabulary. And that, makes it so worth it!

What’s their all-time favorite word? Insolent: it is heard quite often here 😉