The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

Listen to the Dogs

A man behind a desk working on the Dog Breed Info Center(R) website with A blue-nose brindle Pit Bull Terrier that is laying under his desk

I used to think I just had a very bad dust mite allergy. However, after moving Dog Breed Info Center(R) and my pack out of my home office to an industrial building office I discovered that while the little mites are reasonably creepy enough to blame, it was not those little buggers that would make me cough. The office area was empty accept for the Dog Breed Info Center(R) crew, so I had the opportunity to dissect, in a sense, a building to figure out just what was beating me up.

We removed all carpeting, painted the concrete floors, painted the walls, cleaned and cleaned some more, did mold treatments, used a boat load of allergy spray, bought plants, set up more HEPA filters than the space required and had an exterminator out to treat the entire building. I even washed the dog beds weekly keeping them nice and clean.

A brown floor in the middle of being painted gray inside a small storage room with a coffee maker on the left and a fan in the window.

Carpets removed, floors being painted

A white HEPA filter sitting on a gray floor against a white wall

One of the large HEPA filters we had set up. I have since discovered that a lot of HEPA filters actually have fiberglass filters in them. I looked into it because it seemed the more filters I added to my home and office the worse my lungs felt. When I read they contained glass fiber filters I was shocked! Trying to remove glass with glass was only blowing new glass into the air.

A girl in all red is mopping the floors at the Dog Breed Info Center(R)'s office.


Everyone else around me claimed they felt nothing, while I cough my brains out with a tight chest, eyes burning, my skin was numb, throat would hurt, I would get dizzy, ears would often ring, and my face even started to break out in zits. I could not think straight while I was in that building. I would have thought I was nuts, but the dogs, they felt it, too. As soon as I would open the door to the building they would start to sneeze, over and over and over again.

A grey with white Pit Bull Terrier, A blue-nose brindle Pit Bull Terrier, A black with white American Bully and A brown brindle Boxer are sleeping inside of the Dog Breed Info Center(R) office on green comforter blankets

We would run through the halls to the DBIC office where we would open windows blowing in fresh air with fans. I had a mission to figure out why that building would give me ‘sick building syndrome’ symptoms. Sick building syndrome is when a building makes people sick and they often feel better when they leave, only to feel worse when they return.

The inside of a fiberglass lined HVAC air duct that is very dirty and dry rotted.

After a long process of trial and elimination we narrowed it down to fiberglass insulation. It was above the ceiling panels, behind a lot of the walls and the ducts were lined with it on the INSIDE with air blowing past it.

A row of fiberglass lined HVAC air ducts all lined up outside after being removed from a building

As it was being removed I started paying attention to when I felt it and the reactions of the dogs. They all knew, but it was Spencer the Pit Bull that would often turn and look at me in a way that I felt he not only knew, he knew that I knew. The silent communication of the dog. I would often find myself saying, “I know boy, it’s bad in here.". I felt like we had a pact, we knew and felt something that the others did not. It was the dogs that kept reminding me that I was not insane.

A brown brindle with white Boxer is walking down the Dog Breed Info Center(R) office with a blue-nose brindle Pit Bull Terrier that is sleeping on a tan dog mat.

If a person spends a lot of time in an indoor area that has microscopic fiberglass particles in the air it lands on their body, hair and clothes and they carry it with them, spreading it around as they walk near air currents that blow it back off of them. If they don’t shower at night they get it on their pillow, on their couch, in their car. Everywhere. One has to get away from it in order to notice when the air is better. I have become very in-tune to it. The more I get away from it, the more I can feel it when I get near it again. The dogs will walk up to some people and begin to sneeze over and over as they say ‘hello”, often confirming what I was already sensing, that the particular person has fiberglass particles on them. Not only can I feel it, so can the dogs. I do not think I have any kind of special power, it just happens to be an irritant that my body rejects.

A brown brindle with white Boxer is watching a black with white American Bully drink water from a water bowl next to a mini refrigerator with a basket of candy on top of it.A blue-nose brindle Pit Bull Terrier and a grey with white Pit Bull Terrier are laying on dog mats inside of the Dog Breed Info Center(R) office with a computer desk and chair next to them.A view looking from the hallway into the DBIC office and storage room with Spencer and Leia the blue-nose Pit Bulls inside of the office.

I have always respected the abilities of the dog and this has just strengthened that respect. When one gets on the level of truly understanding the language of the dog, how they think and what they are saying, its rather remarkable and I am not just talking about their heightened senses, but their entire way of life.

A cartoon view of a house with a mother and baby. The baby is coughing as the mother points at the dog saying 'darn dog dander' as the wind blows against the house forcing bits of the fiberglass behind the walls to contaminate the home.

You can read more about the whole ordeal at my personal website, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Fiberglass Awareness.

Written by Sharon Maguire© Dog Breed Info Center® All Rights Reserved