exploring, preserving: past, present

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, or Where’s the Upside in This?


Three weeks of interrupted sleep. Grumpiness. Aches and pains all over. Bleary, red eyes. Itchy skin. Sneezing. Scratching. Hair loss. Yuck. Great way to start a “Saturday Upsides” post, right? Well, all those symptoms are actually exhibited by one of our dogs. Well, and some of them by her owners (lack ofsleep, grumpiness) because she’s been keeping us up with her symptoms. Before I get into that, let me make some introductions….

Our home life is a very comfy one, shared with two quirky and spoiled dogs named Selah and Belle.

Selah is a grey and white Shihtzu who has spent all but eight weeks of her nine years with me. Belle is an all-white Bichon-Lhasa cross who has spent 3.5 out of her 5 years with us. They both love table scraps, can be very smart, but hide it well.

We just realized that for the past three years in a row, Belle has become ill every November. Each time, it’s felt like it has snuck up on us over the span of two weeks of her giving us more cuddles, whimpering at night, starting to scratch her ears and sides more, culminating in a trip to the vet to figure it out.

Normally, Belle’s a shy and skittish dog around new people and things, so when the first symptoms of illness came on (cuddling and whimpering at night), we just chalked it up to her wanting to be close to us more. Three years ago, the vet said the scratching and bumps on her skin were probably diet-related, so we cut out everything from her diet except special kibble for allergy-prone dogs.  That seemed to do the trick, and life calmed down (including her scratching and whimpering).

A year passed, then (again in November, but we didn’t figure that out then) the symptoms set in–more cuddling, more whimpering, and finally bumps and scratches and waking up at night to her desperate attempts to get relief by scratching and thumping on the floor (yeah, that’s always fun to wake up to at 3am!). Took her to the vet again, and the vet thought it might be parasites or yeast growing on the skin, so she gave us a special shampoo for her. Calm returned, scratching and whimpering stopped, restful nights again (ahhhh).

Well, here we are in November again. Just finished taking Belle to the vet…again. Our vet said “hey did you know this is the third year in a row you’ve come in November? I think she’s got fall allergies!”

After doing a battery of tests to confirm it’s nothing internal (and we got the all-clear that everything’s working fine internally), the final conclusion is that “it’s in the air”.  Yup, Belle’s got allergies. And it’ll happen every November. So if we pro-actively feed her a pill from the beginning of the month through to the end of November, none of the symptoms will return.  That’s it. Phew. And it only took three years to figure out.

So, in about two weeks, Belle will be back to her usual calm, cuddly, now-predictable self. And we will too. ‘Til then, I get to enjoy an unusually cuddly dog seeking relief from her itchiness and giving me extra kisses even after the baths she despises so much. Because she knows we’re only trying to help, and relief will come.

Join Bonnie at Recipes Happen and others every Saturday, blogging about looking for the “upsides” in everyday life. Happy Saturday everyone!


Author: tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader

2 thoughts on “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, or Where’s the Upside in This?

  1. Your pups are adorable! I’m glad that you were finally able to get to the bottom of poor Bella’s woes. I’ve been fairly lucky with Gizmo aside from an ear infection when I first got him (hope I didn’t just jinx myself), but it’s awful when something’s wrong because they can’t tell you what it is. Happy there was an upside here though. And you’re right: our dogs are cousins! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Saturday Upsides: Making it Homemade | Recipes Happen

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