Life & General

Finding Happiness in a World Where You’re Allergic to Dogs

Dogs are a gift.

Dogs are loyal, honest and sincere.

Dogs love their owners and simply want to be loved in return. They are rarely selfish, frequently kind, and earnest in their desire for hugs and food. Their pleasures are simple; a soft bed, a comfortable place to hang out, and walks to stretch their legs once in a while.

If they can spend their time at your side, they will. They constantly check over their shoulder to make sure you’re in sight when they wander off their leash. They love your attention, are always up for some fun, and will wait patiently for you to return home from leaving the house.

Dogs bring me joy, and I’m very allergic to them.

I steal pats whenever I can, but then I need to wash my hands immediately. Strong antihistamines only delay the inevitable sneezing, watering eyes and asthma that follows from extended exposure to dog hair and saliva.

I desperately want to cuddle and pet the dogs I meet. Tell them that they’re very good and deserve every happiness. I want to make sure each and every one is well fed, well watered and well walked. That their long coats are clean and trimmed, their short coats brushed and smoothed, and their eyes are bright and clear. Their noses must be wet, their ears clean and easily able to hear me praise them for existing.

How do I find happiness when the one thing that instantly invigorates and inspires me is something that is also incapacitating? How do I receive joy when a subject of my affection walks by, unpatted and unpraised?

A lesson I learned as a young child is to find my joys in the distance. To appreciate without touching, to love without interacting, and to adore without interrupting. These dogs may never know exactly how I feel about them but it doesn’t change the warmth in my heart when I see a happy old dog slowly amble along with a patient walker. The sentiments I hold for four-legged darlings may often go unexpressed in my desire to be able to breathe and see, but the ability to admire from a distance remains unmarred by the fact that without so much as a single interaction many dogs have taught me important lessons.

Dogs have taught me patience and gentleness for those less patient and gentle than myself. Dogs have taught me to express myself freely, love unreservedly, and to always show excitement when a loved one returns from a journey. Dogs have taught me how to teach discipline gently, how to admonish kindly, and to look after the interests of something other than myself. Dogs have comforted me in my saddest moments, inspired me in the toughest times, and entertained me when my mood was so low I didn’t think I was capable of laughing.

So, here’s to dogs; for existing, even when I can’t interact with your beautiful selves.

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