At a poodle farm, we deal regularly with people whose allergies only allow them to be around dogs with hair (specifically poodles). It’s so satisfying to make matches with these folks and to watch them finally, happily and symptom free enjoy life with their dog.

But yesterday I met someone who didn’t fit the normal poodle adopter profile – and learned how grateful I really am that I have no allergies to contend with.

Debbie is her name and she’s from North Carolina. She has a laughing, happy spirit inside despite a unique lifestyle for Debbie has severe, unrelenting, ongoing allergies. She lives her life based on where she can go to avoid colognes, perfumes, dyes and other known allergens. She is severely restricted in her clothing selection and in the cleaning and laundry supplies she selects. She is so allergic that when she tried allergy shots to combat her allergies, she was allergic to the shots.

Me, I can stand knee deep in poison ivy and think it’s pretty . Nothing fazes me except shrimp. Shrimp is easy to avoid. The air is not so easy to avoid.

But Debbie wants a dog and we have dogs, specifically one named Gibbs. Debbie’s son has two Xoloitzcuintli, otherwise known as Mexican Hairless dogs. She has visited for as long as 3 days with no allergic reactions at all. Excited, she talked to breeders who advised her that this was the case sometimes and sometimes not. It depends on the dog. They do not advertise the Mexican Hairless as hypoallergenic.

Last week, after almost 20 years of rescuing dogs, CPR received in our first Xoloitzcuintli. We put him on our listings and Debbie, who had automatic alerts set up for just these types of dogs, applied first and was accepted to adopt from our rescue. Her motives were sincere and direct . She wants a dog and here was one, young and healthy and close, that we hoped would be perfect for her.

Sadly, it was not meant to be. We met at a local Lowe’s as going to a poodle farm full of many different breeds of dogs would have been dangerous to her. At first it seemed okay. But slowly, as Debbie petted and held our hairless guy, her hands started to swell and redden. The more she gently caressed him, the more the reaction grew.

It had been a pleasant time, especially for me in my hectic, never ending days filled with tasks. To sit quietly on patio furniture (even if it was in Lowe’s) and visit with what already felt like an old friend was relaxing. I didn’t want it to end but good things must and as Debbie’s hands swelled, we both knew this dream would not work for her. Head held high but tears threatening to spill, she gave him back to me. Like the true lady she is, she thanked me for my time and walked away with little fanfare and much dignity. We both had seen it was not meant to be.

Gibbs will find a home. I hope Debbie will keep trying to find her Gibbs out there. She has such a loving, giving spirit and a dog would be lucky to live with her.

As for me, thank you universe for letting me come back to my animal filled farm. I threw one arm around a horse and another around a dog while the barn cats came to rub against me and was grateful that my life can be surrounded by such wonderful, loving, giving creatures. I hope one day for the same for Debbie.


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