Anxiety twins

Oh boy.
Have I had my work cut out for me this evening.
Our friend has been in hospital today, and it looks like he may be kept in overnight.
No problem really, as we are here to look after the dog and the house for him.
Did I say ‘No problem’?
Add a thunderstorm.
My previous experience with dogs and thunder has been traumatic and upsetting.
In 1980, I went to work one afternoon leaving my dog in the kitchen as normal.
When I got home at 5.30 and opened the kitchen door, she greeted me as expected. but what I didn’t expect was to find my kitchen in chaos.
The fridge/freezer doors were both open, wires were exposed, the inner moulding torn to shreds, and the contents strewn all over the floor. It was a miracle she hadn’t thrown herself through the glass back door in terror.
And all because of a thunderstorm.

It was the year of erratic and unpredicted thunderstorms in the UK, and the vet recommended medication.
We tried it, and it more or less knocked her out to a zombie status. She didn’t know where she was and as the effects wore off, she was disoriented and confused.
I tried taking her to work with me and leaving her in the car (something I would NEVER dream of doing today, even though I walked her in my lunch hour and checked on her often as my boss was a dog lover and understood), but it didn’t work, especially when we had a storm and I spent over an hour trying to pacify her.
On further discussion with the vet, he said we would have to dope her up every day just in case, and gradually have to increase the dose to such an extent that she would be a junkie.
After the kitchen episode, we felt we had no choice. It was the only time she walked into the vet’s surgery without protest.
barneyMaggie’s predecessor also didn’t like thunder and would hide in the bath behind the shower curtain until it was all over. When we replaced the bath with a shower cubicle, he would hide under our bed, although once he tried to get in it and growled at me when I removed him. It was pitiful to see him so unnerved and know there was nothing we could do to reassure him, but at least he managed to handle it in his own way.BuddieBuddy is a big dog, a heavy chap weighing in between 45 and 50 kg.
He is also a pacer, a whiner, and a I-want-to-get-on-your-lap-cos-I’m-frightened dog.
The thing is, he gets on our friend’s lap, but then tries to get on his shoulders like some kind of parrot. If thunder hits at night, then Buddy’s in the bed, on our friend’s head, and there’s absolutely nothing he can do except hope he can come up for air occasionally!

Maggie isn’t quite that bad, though she does tremble and comes to either of us for reassurance. Most times, she will get up behind me in a chair, or alongside me on the bench or in bed when we’re home on the boat. So long as she can feel physical contact, she may settle, but is not happy until the storm has passed.
For the duration though, we try to act as normal, not making too much of an issue of it, and may turn up the radio or put our classic CD on.

Imagine therefore canine anxiety in stereo, as I had two dogs vying for lap space!
Maggie got up in the chair behind me, and Buddy tried to follow suit. This resulted in quiet growls from her ladyship (my mummy!).
Buddy then tried to get on my lap, and I had to push him down, he’s just too big and heavy, and would have crushed Maggie behind me.
He eventually settled on my foot and as long as I rubbed his neck (both hands), he was OK. He kept looking behind at me though as if checking I was still there, or maybe in the hope there was space for him on my lap now.

The storm lasted about an hour, and both dogs are now contentedly giving it ZZZzzs in close proximity to Hubby and I.
Maggie has collared the settee space beside me (with cushion)
maggie comfy flashand I had visions of Buddy coming up on the other side which would have been OK, as there’s plenty of room here. He is actually flaked out under the chair at Hubby’s feet.

It will be bedtime soon, though I don’t anticipate any problems with final wees as the air is clear and it’s stopped raining.
It looks like we had some hail though, as I had to do a double take at the layer of white stuff on the ground!


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
This entry was posted in Dogs, fears and phobias, Uncategorized, weather and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Anxiety twins

  1. Cody will sit on the couch next to me if I’m downstairs during a thunderstorm, or lie on the floor next to me if I’m upstairs. So long as I don’t react to the lightning and thunder, she handles it OK. But I gotta tell you – it’s not easy for me not to react because I’m terrified of it myself!

    • Poor you! As a child, I always thought of thunder as God moving the furniture. The lightning never really worried me, though I suppose I could have imagined that as the disco lights for the party which was why he moved the furniture in the first place! 🙂

  2. Shame, our neighbors dog ran away and hid inside a house a few from theirs in the bathroom too. We were lucky with our German Shepherd, she never worried, stayed close to us, but yeah 40 kg on the lap…hehe. …little too much.

Comments are closed.