Doggie Love

I love dogs. But I can’t have one. Allergic.

And boy does that burn my biscuits!

We DID have dogs when my kids were growing up. It was hard for me to tolerate at times, allergy-wise, so I popped the pills, got the shots and suffered a lot of upper respiratory infections. I didn’t realize how sick that had made me until we didn’t have dogs anymore. But I enjoyed those four-legged characters. And my kids were always ga-ga about them.

So… a few years ago, when I was seriously feeling the effects of the empty nest, I decided I wanted a dog. A little one. I would be Paris Hilton toting my new best friend with me everywhere.

I did some research to determine the most hypoallergenic breeds. And of course I would get a rescue. No high-priced puppy mills for me!

As fate would have it, I met my dream canine. I had gone to a rescue facility to meet with a little maltese but there were other dogs there as well.

Sadly, the maltese only wanted to get away from me. We didn’t connect at all. But… a scruffy white poodle jumped in my lap and wouldn’t leave. He was twice the size I wanted… 11 pounds… so I kept putting him down and chasing after the maltese, who insisted on ignoring me.

The poodle swooned every time I looked at him. And if I acted the least bit inviting, he’d follow me until he could end up in my lap. He was just the right amount of polite-but-anxious-to-be-loved. Kinda like me.

The rescue ladies were watching surreptitiously. I think they knew what was going to happen.

And happen it did.

By the end of our one-hour play date, the maltese had dumped me and the poodle was mine. But the poodle wasn’t quite ready. If I wanted him, I would be given a few days to think about it. Then, if I confirmed, I could pay a very low fee to have the dog neutered and all shots brought up to date. I agreed.

A week later my daughter’s family drove me back up to get my new companion. I thought it would be fun for the grandkids to be part of the experience.

We loaded the poodle in the van and the kids were enthralled. All the way home we brainstormed about what to name him. We decided on Beaux – the French spelling of a rather French name for such a frenchy sort of dog. Perfect.

Then the love affair began. Beaux was house-trained within days and we were smitten with each other. Every day we would go out on the back porch and he would calmly let me comb him out. Even though poodles don’t shed heavily, I wanted to keep him clean as possible to make it easy on my allergies. He acted like I was doing him a favor!

And smart! My goodness that dog was smart. After just a few tries he would sit, stay, lie down, and even hop round in circles on his hind legs – to which I would exclaim “circus doggie!” and laugh in delight. He seemed to love to make me laugh.

In the house I had figured out where he might want to lay or sleep while I was gone and I bought color-coordinated towels to put in those locations. (It’s an artist thing…) Again, this was so I could wash them frequently and guard against the allergy effect. Beaux quickly learned where he was allowed to park himself.

All was going well until I woke up with hives one morning. I didn’t think too much of it because I am an allergy girl. You never know what will set me off.

But the hives didn’t go away.

After a few days I was getting short of breath. And I noticed it was worse after having contact with Beaux.

I can’t tell you the dread that came over me.

Finally I ended up in the hospital getting breathing treatments. I was devastated. I knew I couldn’t keep Beaux.

That was several years ago and I am still heartbroken about it. I had to return Beaux to the rescue group. My only consolation was that I DID help find him a new home – and I DID do a fundraiser to raise money for the rescue facility. But it was very hard emotionally because I made a connection with that animal that was one-of-a-kind.

Now I am not one who thinks pets are substitutes for children. However, they are the epitomy of unconditional love. They don’t care what you look like or what your opinions are or what has happened to you on any given day. They are there when you walk through the door and they think you are a genius for showing up once again! How great is that?

So I have a couple doggie sketches today. They aren’t great masterpieces… just quickie sketches done for a couple of journal pages.

Here’s Jamie’s Harlow, a cute little Boston…


And here’s Abby. She belongs to my grand daughter Josey, who posed her a bit. Abby likes to nap in Josey’s bed, so Jo let Abby hug her favorite stuffed bear…


I know that most of my friends have their own doggie-loves. (Really, can you fully trust someone who doesn’t love dogs – even if they can’t have one?) So please go give your pooch a kiss and hug for me. Auntie Starr sends her love!

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