In order for you to understand my struggle with dog allergies I have to draw you a visual, I am not an artist so pay attention, with any luck you will be half the detective I have become.
It began 2 years ago, we called and met with all the top clubs to buy a dog that is a breed and blood of a champion. After weeks of falling for every pup on offer, we drove almost 4 hours to meet the family and puppies of two champion winner Golden Retrievers. There were 6 puppies at just 6 weeks old so you can imagine the love. The biggest, toughest, first-born was ours. Driving back he threw up everywhere and he looked like a young Brad - Brad Pitt my mum observed. My dad was not amused, he refused, and we named the dog Bradford instead. About a week of hopeless training and 10 kilograms of food a day, we could not be more pleased.
This is where the story becomes painful, we played and fed and washed Bradford that summer but my parents and sister weren’t feeling the discomfort I had. My sore eyes were red and I would wheeze and sneeze. The dog allergies were not an option, so I was diagnosed with a cold for the last 2 years, it wasn’t too bad because I live in London and only came to visit my parents every couple of months. But my visits became unbearable. I literally couldn’t breathe, I mean this is my brother it can’t be him. Shopping for antihistamines and other medicine for me seemed unreasonable as I wasn’t sick.
And so the search was on, to find any possible invention that will relieve me of my suffering, a spray, a pill, magnetic collars, magic crystal, or an anti-allergy blanket to cover him for a week (you will be surprised about the stuff some people try to sell you). I found Pet Wipes, they are like make-up remover face-wipes for dogs - just more expensive. Bradford is a bear, standing adjacent to me he is at my waist with fur that is a coat so thick his metal spiked collar does not bother him. After the beach, we wash him with a hose, so the wipes appeared laughable. I bought 4 packs each one has 100 wipes, we unpacked them all brought him to the garage and started wiping him for about 30 minutes, I can honestly say no part of his skin was touched or damp except his nose which is originally wet to start with, the joke was on us.
Then I found Pet+ Shampoo, the bottle arrived and immediately this was the greatest experiment as it had a dog and a horse on the bottle label. We went into the garden and my boyfriend held his neck and head whilst my sister and I soaked his body. Keep in mind I can hardly breathe or see when I’m near him, I poured a handful of the shampoo and applied and then another handful, the bottle says wet animal thoroughly, check. Apply a small amount - check (he is not a ferret) then lather and work into animals coat. We did his back, his legs and tail, neck and ears, then it said to rinse animal with clear water - hose, check. Then towel dry or blow dry animal, that’s where we lost a little hope, he dries himself.
I waited until that evening, we sat down for dinner and he laid down next to my dad, and I could instantly tell the house was different. I could blink and breath, it was that quick? I kneeled close to Bradford and inhaled and waited there was no odour, and I didn’t go into an attack of sneezing or scratching. Whatever those allergens that lived on him or with him were, they were gone. Coping with allergies has never been easy thanks to the Pet+ shampoo. If Bradford can be washed and I can be cured, any dog can. Maybe the ‘+’ in ‘Pet +’ represents those not so average/special ‘plus’ dogs that are family members.