I’ve written about my allergic reaction to poison ivy before. When I was growing up, I used to get such a severe rash that I eventually had to go to an allergist for weekly shots to try to reduce the reaction. If someone was burning branches which had poison ivy on them, I’d get a rash. If I touched a plant somehow, I’d break out everywhere. It seemed as though all I had to do was look in the direction of a plant, and I’d react.
Being so sensitive is awful, but I have become adept at finding and avoiding the three-leafed evil. I can usually make it through the summer without touching any. For some reason, though, this summer, I had an outbreak on the back of my knee. I have no idea how the heck I got it there, but I did, and it made me a bit miserable for a few weeks.
So what does this complaining have to do with dogs?
Well, I’ve wondered for quite a while — why don’t they get poison ivy? Are they just not allergic? Does something they eat help? Does their hair protect them? Is it some sort of oil in their skin? Can we somehow recreate whatever their secret is, so those of us who are sensitive can no longer worry? I have no answers, just questions.
Here’s why these questions have arisen. Our dog Halo sits in poison ivy all the time. She will find the spot on the side of the road that has the most poison ivy covering it, and that’s where she does her duty. Her butt is right in it! Or, even better, if she smells the scent of certain animals, she will just drop on the ground and ROLL AROUND IN IT! And it never bothers her. She doesn’t blister, scratch or itch. Ever. Not a twinge.
I want to know what her secret is.
Why don’t dogs get poison ivy?