The other morning, Gene looked at me across the breakfast table and asked me ever so seriously, “Mommy? Why does Genebeeve have food allergies?”
I took a deep breath, carefully chose my words, and responded, “Well Bud, Genevieve has food allergies because that is the way God made her and God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose her to have food allergies for a reason. Just like you.”
Genevieve is our eleven-month-old French Bulldog. Gene calls her “Genebeeve” and I affectionately refer to her as “Pup Pup”. This affection that I speak of is a recent feeling, and I have a few thoughts as to why it took me so long to learn to love her.
You see, Genevieve is my second French Bulldog. My first was Roni (like macaroni) and she was truly one of a kind. At the young age of six, she passed away from a nasty cancer that rapidly overtook almost all of her organs. After grieving for over a year, we decided it would be good for the family to have a dog again. Enter Genevieve. The poor dog never had a fighting chance in our house. My husband does not like dogs, and I was still mourning the loss of Roni. Farrah was just five months old when we brought Genevieve home, so she wasn’t able to show much of an opinion. But then there was Gene. Gene instantly fell in love with Genevieve and could often be found sweetly singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Rockabye Baby” while holding her.
I struggled with this puppy for months. She peed and pooped everywhere. She ate everything. She even ate her poop. She bit Farrah’s fingers and toes. She didn’t listen. She was always barking. She was a puppy, and I was overwhelmed.
I had prayed for months and months after Roni passed to be given the wisdom to know when it was the right time to get another dog. It was a decision that was not made lightly, and I was so disappointed that this is the dog that was the answer to my prayers. It didn’t make any sense.
Through my every frustration and heartache, Gene’s love for this dog shined brightly. It was so bright, in fact, that I decided to change my perspective and began to look at Genevieve as the kids’ dog, rather than the family’s dog. I would do my part to take care of her, but it was for my children and only for my children.
Fast forward a few months, and we were in and out of the vet’s office with Genevieve. She had ongoing cases of ear infections, yeast infections, skin infections, hives, hair loss, and staph infections. She was starting to look rough and so was our bank account. We were spending way too much time and money on our dog, and I was beginning to resent her again. That’s when we were referred to a specialist.
We are currently seeing a dog dermatologist and are experimenting with a variety of treatments for Genevieve’s food and environmental allergies. For a few months, Genevieve was on a kangaroo diet for her food allergies. Kangaroo diet? Yes. Her food was made from kangaroo. We weren’t seeing the results we wanted, so she is now on a vegetarian diet. She also has severe environmental allergies, so we’re working to get those under control as well. The whole process is a huge experiment with her body, as well as our wallets. It’s not fun and it’s not cheap, but we’re doing our best to find solutions.
Circling back to the slowly-formed affection; I’m not sure if it’s because she’s older now and growing out of some of her obnoxious puppy tendencies, or if it’s because I have a soft spot for those with allergies. Whatever it is, Genevieve has forced her way into my heart. Gene and Farrah love her with such a pure love that it has inspired me to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we didn’t have all of these issues with her and especially at such a young age, but I believe she was chosen to be a member of our family for a reason.
God took my prayers and answered them in the way that He knew was best. Genevieve is truly a best friend for Gene. She is someone that he can relate to and bond with, knowing that they both have allergies. She will be there for comfort when he is feeling left out, confused, or just sad that he is different. He will be able to find comradery in the fact that she is different, too, and yet they still love each other without judgement or hesitation.
We all know that life is an unknown, and our life with Genevieve is an unknown. My prayer is that we will figure out a treatment plan for Genevieve so that she is healthy and comfortable and can remain Gene’s best friend for years to come.