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Posts Tagged ‘fear of thunder’

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We have our little rescue dog for almost two years now!

She is still an enigma, a bundle of odd behaviors and idiosyncracies.

Here is Elsa.  And if you are a dog psychologist, maybe you can explain who she really is. 

Bathroom Pleasures:  You have your place and I have mine!

We have acres of grassy lawn but Elsa prefers to water the small rock bed just outside the front door.

There is a surprising benefit from this odd preference.  Since no weed can survive Elsa’s acid rain for long, the rock bed stays her pristine and weed free watering place.

Maybe in her previous lifetimes she was walked on leash in a neighborhood of homes and chastised for going on a neighbor’s grass.

Play? 

Huh?

Elsa does not play, will not fetch a ball or anything else, and has no apparent interest in stuffed squeaky animals or even treat-stuffed toys.   Squeak a toy at her and she will turn away as if to say, “Stop hurting that poor little thing!”  Throw a ball and she will watch its trajectory without moving a muscle.

No!  No!  Nooooo!!!!!  Not the Car!!!!!!

Elsa does not enjoy riding in the car.  She acts excited pre-entry, but once inside,  hunkers down to shiver and shake in fear.  Fear of what?  Why doesn’t she look out the window or enjoy the breeze in her face like other dogs do?

Most times Bill drives and I ride in back with Elsa, who promptly puts her head in my lap and shakes and shivers.

Yes it is true! The Sky is falling.

Our poor little pup is terrified of thunder, airplanes, rain, far off traffic noises, falling branches, gunshots, firecrackers, and more.  She is under my desk as I write this (shaking and shivering).  I am sure she thinks the sky will fall because she is constantly looking to crawl under something.

 If I am quiet will they come?

She is quiet and respectful of visiting deer, squrrels, groundhogs, birds or rabbits and never barks at them even when they get wind of her and begin to flee.

I have never had a dog who didn’t enjoy barking at visiting creatures, especially when they turn and run.

Well, she does bark at people (who I consider the most predatory anyway) and she did bark at that bear who came through.

I think she thinks protecting me from truly dangerous looking intruders is her real job.

The Lady-Who-Limps Saved Me.  I will never leave her side.

Oddest of all, Elsa prefers my somewhat droll sedentary company to any other living thing.  She rarely leaves my side and has evidently decided I am the only human who counts.

I totally agree with that last assessment of course.

And I enjoy the adoration until she follows me into my own non-rock bathroom.

Are you inviting me to get up there on that sofa with you?  What will happen to me THEN?

There are times I would really love it if Elsa would jump on the couch or the bed, just for a hug.  But even when I invite her, she refuses.

It is probably a good thing that she is never on the furniture since she is a prolific shedder.  Again, I suspect she had some harsh training to keep her off the furniture. No amount of cajoling will entice her up, even in a thunder storm when she really wants to be cuddled.

I think I kinda like it here!

What Bill and I notice lately though is a more trusting happy dog who does a whole lot of tail wagging (on those occasions when she isn’t shaking in fear of something benign).

Elsa is full of strange behaviors and habits and fears, but maybe aren’t we all?

She is a little bit off, a little imperfect, a lot insecure, but aren’t we all?

It will be a two year anniversary soon and we think Elsa knows this is her safest place and where she lives with her most ardent fans.

And we know we will always be warned of visiting bears and unknown humans, and we are serene in the knowledge she will tell us when the sky is falling too.

 

 

 

 

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Gathering Storm

Storm Brewing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Online Confession:  I am terrified of thunder storms.  Never used to be.  Only since we moved here.  That was 26 years ago, so I have been afraid of thunder and lightning for all that time.  Tsk!

In spite of valiant efforts to hide this phobia, most of my friends know all about it.

I used to tell them our Golden Retriever, Peaches, was so afraid of storms she would try to get in the bathtub or shower.  I suggested the closet and would accompany her there for comfort and solace through the wild flashes.

From that time on, Peaches and I hit the closet together to weather storms.

  • I lined the closet with pillows where delightful scents of shoes and clothing might calm the poor pup down.
  • I rubbed her with dryer sheets (supposed to reduce static electricity),
  • and I even gave her little candies laced with doggy herbal tranquilizers.

Maybe I should have tried the dryer sheet-tranquilizer thing on myself!

Friends would say, “It’s thundering Dor –you and Peaches better get to a closet!”

The real story is that in a state of abject fear I prefer to lie down in a closet.  Folks do not understand there are no windowless rooms in this house – no comforting walls for protection.   And then of course, Peaches caught my fear (dogs are very perceptive that way you know).  And I suppose she entered the closet to actually comfort ME!

We finally lost Peaches (not to lightning but to old age), and then inherited an old rescue dog named Rozie who also found solace in the closet during raucous weather.

We lost sweet old Rozie as well (not to lightning but to old age).  I fervently wish a stray would wander in but there are no dogs here now and I hit the closet alone.

This is irrefutable proof that fear of lightning is my own hangup and I should stop involving helpless animals.

Peaches

Peaches

Rozie

Rozie

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Gathering Storm

I admit it.  I am terrified of storms, especially storms with lightning and loud thunder!  I never used to be so paranoid.  It may be one of those down sides to country living.

Did you know thunder storms are louder when there are no houses around?   This is true. And it sounds even more thunderous and aggressive when it roars through a valley between two mountain ranges.

We live on the top of a hill!  (Sitting Ducks really)  Doesn’t lightning strike at the highest point?

Well, our next door neighbor lives on a higher hill.  That gives me hope, but here we sit on our respective hills – waiting.

But at the first sign of a storm I run around the house unplugging things, turning off overhead fans, closing windows, and removing rings and watches, locating candles, oil lamps and flashlights.  Between flashes and thunder claps I gasp and run in and out of rooms in sheer panic.  Then I head for our closet!

I spend a lot of storm time cloistered among shoes and hanging things.  The noise is somewhat muffled there.

I used to blame our Golden Retriever, Peaches, for those closet stays.  She probably caught the fright from her pawrent because at the first rumble of thunder she would begin to shake.  Maybe it was because she saw me begin to shake.  At any rate, we both always wound up in the closet to wait things out.

Helpful hint for frightened dogs: 

If a storm is pending, rub the fur down with a dryer sheet. 

It will reduce static electricity and at least the dog’s hair won’t stand on end. 

Really.

We lost Peaches to old age and now I spend lonely vigils in the closet.  Bill refuses to admit there is even a storm in progress.  Oh, every now and then he will loom up and ask, “Are you o.k.?”  He obviously does not understand storm terror.

Tonight is one of those nights.  We are in the first severe thunder storm of the summer season.  I have already heard the wind, hail and brutal thunder.  And now there is torrential rain.  Fortunately I have a laptop (unplugged and running on battery).  This message comes to you from the closet.

If I survive….. to be continued…..

 

 

 

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THE PUPPY’S TALE

“I was a very cute, happy, well adjusted puppy.  One night when I was blissfully sleeping, there was a terrible thunder storm with brilliant flashes of lightning.  Or maybe it was an earthquake or even a tornado.  In any case, at the same time as this event, a big heavy book fell off a shelf and hit me on my head.  It hurt.   My human mother came and comforted me but the pain and shivering didn’t stop for a long time.  And from that day on, I believed the sky would fall on me again and it might kill me.  And I have terrible nightmares.”

Sleepy Rozie

My name is Rozie.  I am an old dog now with a checkered past.  I am a rescue dog and have been rescued more than once.  No one knows my real story though.

I am a big, mean looking canine now, with a ferocious growl.   I can scare big men so I am a magnificent watch dog if I hear you coming.   The problem is I’m usually asleep.  They say that once, when a bear walked by, I just slept through the visit.

It should be noted that in my few waking hours, I am frightened.  I still remember the sky might fall and I watch the windows for a darkening sky or an unusual wind.  Backfires, gunshots, or a twig hitting the window are terrifying and thunderstorms are the worst.  They drive me (and my adopted lady, Dor) into a closet where sounds are muffled and smells are of comforting human clothing and old shoes!  My lady rubs me down with a dryer sheet to reduce static electricity. It feels pretty good but old shoes smell better.   Isn’t that a great idea though?

I am a very old dog named Rozie and still convinced the sky is falling because it fell on me once before, when I was a puppy.   And only my humans can save me.    There is no convincing me otherwise and I still have terrible nightmares.   My adopted humans want to help but all they can do now is hold  my paw through the hard times, and give me all their love.

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