From the time I was born until the time I was about 5 years old, we had a cat named Lucy. She was my mom's true baby. I can't remember a time when Lucy was around where I was able to breathe properly, or didn't have raw skin from scratching all of the time. Welcome to my world of growing up with allergies.

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I have vivid memories of my first visit to the allergist and the horrors of the different allergy tests they performed to verify all of the different types of pollen, fur, and dander that I'm allergic. Since that initial appointment, I've taken Zyrtec, and it indeed mirrors the world of the Claritin commercials; taking the medication on a daily basis is like peeling back a film over the world, and having the ability to see and breathe clearly again. The days that I forget to take my medications are the worst, and it usually makes me sick.

In 3rd grade, we had a class pet- a guinea pig named Cinnamon. The summer after 3rd grade, I had the opportunity to take her home and keep her. She was the cutest little pig; she loved her strawberry tops and carrots and produced poop like a machine. However, I was also allergic to her and couldn't hold her for long periods of time.

Most of my friends have a dog, so I have to prepare myself whenever I know I am going over to any of their houses. This includes bringing an inhaler, tissues, and Nasonex (nasal spray), and I always shower all of the dander off of me when I get home.

I often get comments such as "You poor thing," or "I couldn't live without my dog, I don't know how you do it," but the truth is, I'm used to not having a companion. It isn't that I wouldn't want one, because yes, I love dogs (more than cats), and it would be great to have a cute best bud. However, the aftermath of leaving my friends' or relatives' houses after interacting with their animals just isn't worth it for me to have to suffer every day.

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So to all of you that get to celebrate National Pet Day, treat your animals with care and love every day of the year, and not just this day. Make sure to give them an extra hug for the girl sitting next to you in class that has allergies.