September 12, 2009

Dog in a Thunderstorm

You need a tranquilizer if you have a dog in a thunderstorm.

I mean if you have a dog with anxiety disorder which we do.

Such dry and prolonged thunderstorms in our area are rare, so this one was unusually frightening.

As storms approached my childhood house
my father would start yelling.
"Get away from the glass!"
Something about doom and disaster,

windows blowing in, etc.

Duly scared was I,

permanently most likely,
damaged for the rest of my life,
or so it seemed.

Last night's first pounding crack caused a jump and scream, I was close to leaping out of bed. But the dog...the dog, now there was a tremendous leap if I ever saw one.

An hour and a half later this dog was still frantic. Pacing. Trying desperately to dig under our bed, then our heads. Or under the pillows, or under the floor...all options were open.

As I left the bedroom to get some sleep I was followed by a terrified dog who thought, "Aha! Finally someone sees the danger". Hoping for the best while the dog hoped for her best, I climbed into the guest bed and pulled the blankets over my head.

By now I was so tired, I was no longer jumping out of the bed during the daylight flashes, but the dog was jumping onto the bed and digging into the bed and trying at to get under the mattress and through the floor. Blankets were ripped from my gripping hands as she nosed under my poor prone self, scared, tired, and nervous, just looking for peace.

Hours of stormy lightening raged and clanged and yet I no longer sucked in ragged breath. Only quiet left my throat. The terrified dog, however, had no hope for a soothing end in sight.

Have you been under the covers and had a panting nose shoved into your armpit while trying to push under your whole body? Or damp too-rapid dog breaths directed right into your face under tented, pulled-tight sheets?

Belatedly, 3 hours in, this dog got a tranquilizer. Not prescribed specifically for thunder induced insanity, but rather for dog toenail clipping, but this night drastic measures were called for. Hopefully this would cut the absolute and unending canine panic. For the next 30 minutes I stood on the dog's collar, gently, but firmly, to keep her head on the floor, waiting for the chemicals to pump. "Time to sleep!", I demanded deliriously. I waited for lessening of the breath, for composure, for calm, perhaps sleep.

She stayed down, her breathing slowed, I tried to sleep standing with one foot holding down the collar, alternating with patting her now flat self on the floor, me flopped onto my side onto the bed, my body bent awkwardly over 3 pillows, head on the hard edge of the mattress. A fleeting vision of this pose: dog below, me slumped crookedly; was embarrassing, but who cared.

Window turns white bright. Timpani rolls over.

I do not care, so stunned am I

by hours of hysterical-dog-induced lethargy.
Weather be damned. I am cured.

I was pounded into

exhausted desensitization,
am now phobia-free.

Of thunder and lightening at least.

What a break-through.


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