What with the husband being allergic to four-legged mammals (and sometimes two-legged ones as well), pollen and dust, this is not an easy feat at all and needed much thought and strategy. Hypoallergenic dogs - if there really is such a thing - are generally more exclusive and thus more expensive breeds that are harder to come by, and are rarely available through pet shelters, at least not reliably.
Over the past couple of weeks we kept our eyes open and peeled on the various shelters around town and finally jumped into the pool at the deep end by getting in touch with the lovely people from GAP-Greyhounds as Pets, Jacksonville. Greyhounds generally shed a lot less than the average dog, some even consider them hypoallergenic and after a long visit at the kennel that hardly triggered any reaction in the husband we were hopeful that this might actually work. I'd been nuts about those gentle 45mph couch potatoes ever since meeting the retired racer of my former boss and was dying to have one join us. The GAP people were very accommodating and willing to work with us; they agreed to allow us to 'test' or foster a possible dog for a week to see if husband's allergies would be able to handle a dog in the house 24/7.
[83lbs of Greyhound Goodness]
So, "Hot Hot Dog" came home with us. We hit it off really well: Hot didn't only take up a huge space on our back seat (in fact he took up the entire back seat and squashed Little Man every time I had to hit the brakes) and in his crate in the dining room and curled up on the crib mattress next to our couch, but also in our hearts. He was sweet, gentle, easy going and laid back and despite his 83lbs worth of big black dog, a big wuss, who cried during the first night because he was so Looooooooo-oooooo-nely. Every two hours. It felt like having a newborn in the house again, and we were proud as new parents when he slept for four solid hours the next night.
[Little Man & Hot Hot Dog: every boy needs a dog]
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. While Hot was a gentle giant following us around every step we took like a soft black shadow to your side, he was nuts about each and every cat. Sleeping, sitting in a tree out of reach, walking by, dozing on the porch - nothing made a difference. Our neighbor's Chihuahua seemed to fall into the same category (anything knee-high and taller he obviously regarded as 'dog' on even footing). And who could blame him? After a long and rather successful racing career, that prey drive that made him a good racer wasn't easily appeased and put to rest.
Not wanting to set him up for failure, we returned him to GAP with very heavy hearts and many tears. We know they will find him a good home, and we're glad we could help him by learning more about him to make sure the next family will be a better fit for him but it smarts still. Lovely lovely dog.
One good thing, it looks like our two cats bonded a bit more over the common enemy. (And we have more news in regard to the whole dog adventure :o) so stay tuned!)