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beckster_01 beckster_01 (Member)

Houston, I have a problem

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I know I know, I need to talk to people close to me about my relationship problems instead of on the Internet for all to see, but I am at work with 2 unresponsive neuro patients and can't get my mind off of this.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that the two things I am passionate about in my life are my dog, a 3 year old shepherd, and snowboarding. When I met my fiancé I felt I was very upfront about this, he told me he LOVES dogs, although he prefers the smaller, non-shedding variety vs. my 80lb long-haired shepherd. He told me he had mild allergies that are controllable with regular vacuuming and an air filter. We had the "what if" conversation. What if his allergies worsened and he was miserable all the time? I told him that my dog is a commitment. When I got this dog I committed to having him till he dies. Behavior problems? Train him. Health problems? Pet insurance. To me, allergies (short of anaphylaxis) are not a reason to get rid of a dog. Over time it didn't seem like Dan's allergies were a problem. Fast forward a year.

We have been engaged for a month. I love this man- he is intellectually stimulating, makes me laugh, makes me feel great about my self, we are on the same wavelength in so many areas. But yesterday we were driving to the park in my car with the dog, I look over and his eyes are puffy, his breathing is labored, he is coughing and sneezing and just looks sick. You guessed it, dog allergies. My dog is bathed, the car is freshly vacuumed, realistically it was as hypoallergenic as it will get. So I start asking some questions.

Me: "Do you feel like this at my house and you just haven't told me?"

Dan: "yeah, it isn't usually this bad but I don't feel good at your place."

"How have we missed this??" I realized that short if the road trip to Vermont- when my car was brand new, we haven't spent a significant amount of time in my car.

"Every time I bring it up you get upset."

Of course I get upset! That isnt a reason to avoid dealing with a problem. he told me he has been stressing about it this whole time and just tries not to think about it. I have been straight from the very beginning- if you can't handle my dog, my house, or my car, then we shouldn't have gotten involved! In May that is going to be Dan's dog, Dan's house, and Dan's car. We are planning on spending our lives together. The dog isn't going anywhere. Is it fair to him to be banned outside, lonely and confused? Is it fair to Dan to be miserable and sick for the next 8 years or so that my dog will be around? What am I supposed to do? My dog is equivalent to my child- something I don't think Dan has ever fully understood. How am I supposed to get him to understand that I'm not making an animal more important than him. I just can't in good conscience dishonor my commitment to take care of this dog because of Dan's allergies, something I didn't even realize was an issue for a year.

So here is my plan: I am getting my car professionally detailed in hopes that the bothersome dander is more from a friends pitbull (who I watched for 2 months this past spring). I am going to FORCE Zyrtec on Dan for at least a month. Then I am going to make him go to his PCP for some Allegra if that doesn't work. But I am terrified that it won't be enough. Any input/support is appreciated, I think I'm going to go cry on my Mom's shoulder tonight. (Yes I know in the grand scheme of things this is a silly issue, in hoping for some like-minded pet lovers to step in).

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Send Dan to an allergist (I'm an allergy and asthma NP). He may be allergic to your dog, but there may also be other things that are contributing to his symptoms (pollen, mold, dust mites, etc). Allergy symptoms can be severe and debilitating, and may not be well controlled by medication alone. The only way to confirm his allergens is with skin testing. Once he knows what he's allergic to, he can choose to have immunotherapy (allergy shots) to desensitize him to his allergens. It won't work right away, but the majority of patients who undergo immunotherapy have significant improvement of their symptoms within 6 months.It's also a long term commitment-people need to stay on shots for several years, if not longer, but most feel it's worth it. Hopefully, he'll agree to this, it will work well, and you won't have to get rid of anyone!

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