A week ago yesterday, I went with my husband to a new client’s home. It was a pleasant spring day, perfect for a drive, and I was glad to get out of the house and away from paperwork and other duties. They lived in the middle of nowhere, about forty minutes from New Braunfels, on 70 or so acres. A recent rain had maintained the greening and flowering all along the highways and back roads.
After traveling about a mile down a bumpy, unpaved driveway, we pulled up at a fence surrounding a brick home and an opened detached garage. Intending to stay in the van, as usual, I’d brought along my suduko book and Kindle Fire. As Danny got out, I noticed three dogs in the yard coming to greet him at the gate. The young couple for whom he would be building a 1900 sq.ft. addition trailed behind their pets. They didn’t look over at me, so I resumed my number puzzling. Occasionally, I glanced up to see the three of them traversing the property, pointing out this and that. When they eventually went inside to discuss everything, the dogs went with them. I would not be joining them…
I’m allergic to animals – dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, and everything else with fur and dander. I cannot help it; it’s the way God made me. Depending on the animal, sneezing ensues. With cats it is instant asthma. If I do not remove myself from close contact or take medication, then my airways constrict and I cannot breathe. Over the years I learned to take antihistamines whenever I knew I would be going near animals. I’m fine outside, as long as I don’t get too close to them. Of course, dogs love to surround me. :-)
However, indoors is a totally different happenstance. I stay away from curtains and upholstered furniture, where hair and dander attach. When wood or leather seating isn’t available, I’ll just stand. Wood/tile/cement flooring is a relief, while carpeting or rugs don’t help. Even having pre-medicated, an enclosed space with one or more shedding animals will limit my time indoors. Sometimes it is very annoying; sometimes it keeps me from making friends.
When I was twenty, I came home for Christmas. I hadn’t seen my family or been around animals for fifteen months. I wasn’t there for fifteen minutes before I had an asthma attack. I spent the remaining four days out on the screened porch. Luckily, south Texas winters aren’t too cold…
About twenty minutes passed when I heard a vehicle approaching from behind. In the rearview mirror I saw a truck parking about fifty feet away. From there the parents of one of the young people walked towards the gate carrying grocery bags. The woman stopped by my open window and asked if I’d like to wait inside. I smiled, said thank you but I’m allergic to dogs, to which she said she was sorry. Then she commented on my suduko before going inside.
For some unfathomable reason, informing animal lovers that I have allergies to their pets usually offend them or make them think less of me. This older woman seemed more understanding, which I appreciated.
Danny came out fifteen minutes later and told me they actually had five dogs, as well as two cats inside. That would have been a double whammy for me and I hadn’t brought my inhaler, which I surely would have needed. Unfortunately, I also missed seeing their ten-month-old daughter. I love babies!