So far, the husband and I have looked at about sixty dogs, roughly eighty of which were pit bulls.1 The one out of the sixty that we both agreed we really really liked and wanted (a German shepherd / black lab mix; very similar to Fervor, but about 1/3 the size, less into play-biting, and female) was adopted out from under us before we could even figure out for sure whether I was allergic.2
We've been to four shelters now (Iowa City,3 Washington, Fairfield, and Tipton), and we've only found two remotely serious contenders: the one above that we didn't have a chance to adopt (Fairfield) and a Grand Pyrenees that we applied for but are probably not going to adopt (from Tipton), even if approved, because . . . I'm not sure. I'm not allergic -- the shelter people even swabbed his mouth and then swabbed the inside of my elbow with the saliva,4 and nothing happened at all. So at least we know that I'm not allergic to the entire species. And he's big, but big dogs are not necessarily a problem: Fervor was a large dog, and we didn't worry about that with him.
The problem is more that neither the husband or I particularly clicked with him. This may be because of the breed: everybody says that Grand Pyrenees are slow to warm up to strangers, as well as being kind of headstrong and territorial and a pain in the ass to train. Not that we want or need a dog that's going to be trying to lick our faces 24/7, or even that it has to be a case of love at first sight again, as it was for me with Fervor and (even more so) the one that was adopted out from under us, but there should at least be something. A spark.
So we keep looking. There's no lack of shelters nearby, and the shelters, alas, have no shortage of dogs. Sooner or later it will happen. It's just really frustrating to lose one great dog to allergies, and another dog to . . . well, I guess it's allergies there, too, technically, since the possibility of me being allergic was why we didn't fill out the application immediately. Damn my neurotic immune system.
But in any case. Not allergic to the entire species, so we are going to keep trying, even if I didn't think we would as of last Tuesday. And someday, we'll find one. The question then becomes -- do I re-use the name "Fervor," the name I've been sitting on for the last twenty-five to thirty years, or do I have to come up with a new name, since I named one dog that already? I mean, I don't want to give him/r a complex. (Dog psychoanalysis is not cheap.) And does "Fervor" sound right for a female dog, were we to get a female dog? The husband thinks it sounds unisex, but I think it sounds male. Maybe "Zeal" or "Mania" would be better for a girl?5
Side-note: the large announcement I said I was going to make when I come back from hiatus is postponed for a while, I think. So forget I brought it up. If/when things are in order, then I'll tell you what's going on.
1 (Joke, not typo. There are a lot of pit bulls in shelters. I'm not sure which is more upsetting: that people feel such a need to be strong and manly and shit that they have to get vicarious manliness by borrowing from their dogs, or that they care so little about the dogs they're using that they'll abandon them once the pressure to be manly subsides. I suppose we could adopt one -- despite the reputation, it's my understanding that they're perfectly nice dogs when properly trained and socialized -- but neither the husband or I find them especially appealing. And it's not like there aren't plenty of other dogs to choose from.)
2 Seriously. I played with her and held her and got her to lick me and all that, for quite a while, and she was as wonderful as Fervor but without the tendency toward overexcitement and play-biting, i.e., perfect, and then we left to go get something to eat, discuss, and allow the allergies to appear if they were going to. Then when we came back half an hour later, I was told that right after we left, someone else showed up, with an adoption application already filled out for the dog in question, and they were like 99% positive that they wanted her, so they have priority and we're s.o.l. And this, of course, is the only dog we've seen so far, including Fervor, that both husband and I were enthusiastic about. (The husband was kinda ennh about Fervor to begin with.) Which is just not fair.
Though it possibly wouldn't have been fair anyway, because the allergy stuff was inconclusive: I itched, but it wasn't necessarily from her, and there wasn't very much of it. So we would have had to repeat the test. But still. Damn it.
3 Nobody there I was interested in, though Fervor is there again and I at least got to give him a proper goodbye, which made me feel better. I was kind of an emotional wreck on Tuesday when we brought him back -- intellectually the decision made sense, but emotionally I hadn't caught up, and the husband wouldn't let me be in denial about it. Which was kind of mean. So it was nice to see Fervor again. Still wish we could have kept him: I'm appreciating his virtues a lot more, as we look at more and more other dogs. And I appreciated his virtues quite a bit at the time, as the reader will recall.
4 Inside of the elbow, underside of the forearm, and back of the hand: if I'm going to react, it's going to show up in one of those three places. The elbow seems to be the most sensitive of the three.
5 (We considered "Enthusiasm" briefly, until I realized that "Enthusiasm" best shortens to "Thusie," which sounds nicely feminine. So far so good, but it's hard to say, and I could see it being tempting to lisp the word as "Thuthie." And then if she ran away or something -- I mean, there's no way two gay men can run around a small rural Iowa town calling "Thuthie! Thuthie!" without causing much snickering and the reaching of lethal self-consciousness levels. The husband said having to call "Fervor" was bad enough, the one time Fervor got away for a few minutes.)