Victoria Regional Transit Commission votes to keep existing pets on buses policy

Yesterday, after presentations from 3 delegations and a thorough report presented by one of the Commission members on the topic of whether or not to allow dogs on leashes on buses a decision was made. That decision was to keep the existing policy wherein working dogs are allowed on buses at all times, however other pets are only allowed on buses when in carriers.

This was a very interesting meeting to be present for as we heard about the research they had done, the surprising response to their survey that was posted in the fall and more about what other cities have as policies around pets.

The survey asked questions around how often you use transit on a weekly basis, how would this change if dogs on leash were allowed on buses and so on.

Over 50% of the public who responded to the survey said they did NO to a policy change which would allow dogs on leashes on buses. A little over a third said YES to allowing them and 10% said Sometimes. The response was even more overwhelming with Transit Operators with well over half of them saying NO to the idea of a policy change.

In both my research and that of the Commission, it was clear that some transit Commissions across Canada have not opened up discussions to the public on the matter. I would like to thank the Victoria Regional Transit Commission as well as Vancouver for opening up this topic to the public, as we all have a right to speak up when it is a matter of public safety. They are going above and beyond to ensure that they make an educated decision and incorporate the public’s opinions in their decision. With surveys, presence on various social media platforms asking these important questions, accepting letters and emails and phone calls on the topic.

They have agreed to keep the policy at this time, however they may reconsider once Vancouver has made their decision about their own Transit Policies.

Watch the Video Clips from Chek News and CTV News to learn more:

No leash dogs allowed on Greater Victoria buses – Chek News

No pups on public transit, unless in a carrier – CTV News

Safe Holidays?


How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!



Scent-sitive – Tips to making those of us with Asthma feel safer during the Holidays


Scented candles are one of many triggers that can cause a healthy person like me to have an Asthma attack. Many people do not understand that the chemicals, fragrances and scents that go into these candles to make them smell like cranberry and orange, pumpkin and spice, or vanilla (only a few mentioned) can trigger wheezing and serious troubles breathing for people like me. People who are Asthmatic.

I have always found it hard to explain to people that the scented candles are triggering my Asthma and are the culprit. Many do not believe a candle could do such a thing. But it does. Incense is just the same, and often worse, as it will give off more smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I love scented candles; my lungs don’t.

During the holidays if you are hosting and you know that one of your guests has environmental Allergies and/or Asthma please ask them if scented candles and incense are one of their triggers. There is a very good chance they are. Holidays can be one of the most stressful times for many of us who live with Asthma, environmental Allergies and food Allergies. If someone has told you that candles and incense trigger them, please respect that.

In the simplest of terms, think of scented candles and incense as you would perfumes and colognes. If friends and family have expressed that perfumes set off their Asthma, then candles and incense will likely have the same effect.

A New Job and Labradoodles

The last 3 weeks have flown by. I started a new job back on the 22nd of September and am already into my 4th week with the company. When I started, I made sure to mention my food allergies, sensitivities to fragrances/perfumes. One thing I forgot to ask about, which has worked out great in the end was whether or not it was a pet-friendly office. As it turns out, there are two dogs which are often in the office. When I found out on my first day of work, instead of getting all worked up, the first thing I asked was what breed they were and was told they were Labradoodles – a very hypo-allergenic breed, similar to poodles. I decided to stay calm and see if in fact I reacted to them because poodles hadn’t triggered as severe symptoms as other breeds had for me.

At the end of day one I was extremely excited. I mean it. On the bus ride home I was researching Labradoodles on my phone, curious about the breed. Now some may wonder… why are you excited about not needing antihistamines or inhalers with the dog in the office. Well, for me it was a HUGE win. For those of you who have done immunotherapy before, I considered this as an opportunity for me to build up my tolerance with dogs. Consequently, for me, knowing that I’d be spending lots of time in the same environment as these dogs was an opportunity. I know that’s a crazy way to think about it, however some of you may appreciate my  thinking process.

I did learn that I should write down things I need to bring up so I don’t forget something. It’s amazing all the things someone with asthma and severe allergies – environmental and food, needs to consider when it comes to a new job.

When I saw my allergist recently for my dust mite subcutaneous injection I shared with him the news about the dogs at work and the fact that I hadn’t reacted or needed antihistamines. I felt extremely happy about the situation and almost felt like a kid on their birthday, excited about the presents and friends and relaxed. Has anyone else had experience with a dog in the workplace? Or perhaps have a Labradoodle?




Conferences, events, and hotel food


If you are living with life threatening food allergies, you have likely attended a conference or other catered event. Whether the event was a wedding, a holiday party or perhaps a conference, having a safe meal, or multiple safe meals can be challenging. Have you had an exceptional and memorable experience with hotel staff, or catering staff? Have you ever had an experience that may have resulted in a reaction?

I have attended numerous conferences and catered events, for all different occasions and each one has taught me a new tip and raised my awareness a notch.  A few action items I HIGHLY recommend are:

1. Provide a list of ALL your allergies prior to the event (either to event staff, or hotel management)

2. Before the first meal, ask to speak to the “Maitre D” or Kitchen Manager/Head Chef

3. If you genuinely don’t feel comfortable eating from the buffet, then do NOT hesitate to tell them. Tell them you would feel much safer having a separate plate for each meal. They should understand that.

Just because you have food allergies or food sensitivities, like I do, to gluten or dairy, it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on good food and dining! Live the conference, wedding or other event to the fullest while enjoying tasty food just like your friends or colleagues! Speak up! :)

I used to keep quiet and not eat very well. Now, I often eat better than others at the conferences. Some managers have even brought me meals personally! AND placed the napkin on my lap and pushed my chair in! While others were getting their own food from the buffet! Don’t get down because you have food allergies. Don’t let having food allergies be “unfair” they don’t have to be! Trust me on this one!


A safe and relaxing Valentine’s Day weekend away from home


Ocean Trails sign

On Friday afternoon, my partner and I headed up island for a weekend away. A wonderful birthday gift from family. We stayed at Ocean Trails Resort. The place we stayed in had a full kitchen which was great. We packed up a cooler full of food from home and grabbed safe utensils (as I do not feel particularly safe using plastic utensils that have been used to cook things I would likely be allergic to). It is always great to bring our own food as I feel extremely safe and don’t have any worries about the weekend. I can fully relax knowing that all the food we brought is safe and there is no chance of a reaction, especially considering the fact that everything we made had no processed foods in it, just vegetables, meat and rice. Safe as can be!

Before we booked the suite for the weekend, I called and made sure to ask whether the suites were pet-free and non smoking. They had assured me of both. When we went to the front desk to check in on Friday evening, I was extremely excited to see they had a sign which clearly stated their allergy policy:

allegy signSeeing this sign was a huge relief and sparked a conversation with the receptionist who explained that they understand how sensitive people can be with pets and smoke and know that pet dander can stay on furniture and in the carpet for a long time.

It was the first weekend away from home EVER I have not had to take any benadryl or other antihistamines! The place was spotless, buildings were newer and there were lots of windows we could open for some fresh air. No itchy eyes, scratchy throat or asthma attacks. It was truly wonderful.

If you are looking for a pet-free place to stay on the island, with a well equipped kitchen and fireplace, I highly recommend visiting them for a weekend, or perhaps even longer! We will definitely be going back there. :)

Thank you Ocean Trails Resort for a weekend we will remember! Conveniently located right next to Rathtrevor Beach, which we went to today, though it was very wet and windy.

“Defining allergy fact from fiction”

I’ve been busy lately, and am trying to organize my routine, so I can still have time to post and share interesting articles and research I come across with you, my readers.

Nowadays, there is so much information on the internet that it can often feel like you need to sift through fact and fiction or myth and reality. I always say to go with what you hear straight from a board-certified allergist and/or physician. Who knows what the real source is on the internet. I know if I have questions, whether it be about contact skin reactions, food reactions, potential allergic reactions to medications, I go to my allergist, and if he’s not available, then I’ll run it by my physician. And then, once they’ve diagnosed, or explained it to me, yes, I may do an internet search to see if others are living with the same challenges, because it’s nice to not feel alone.

I hope the following article will help you see some fact on a few topics you or perhaps someone you know believed, and in the end is fiction.

Defining allergy fact from fiction” – Press Release from American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

What was the biggest “Ah ha!” of this article, that you perhaps wish your friends or family read, so they would see that it is “just a myth”.

For me it is hands down #5; “I’m Allergic to Cats and Dogs, but Can Have a Hypoallergenic Breed”. So many people say “oh, it’s a poodle, you won’t be allergic”… actually, yes, I am.