Fifty percent of domesticated dogs suffer from some degree of thunderphobia. Well, in my house at least. (Sue says you can use facts to prove anything.) I woke last night to lightning flashes, the thunder roll, and then the sound of hail hitting my roof. Tiny Dog burrowed out of the sheets, startled to a full-body tremble, wide-eyed, and sat on my sternum. Wren crawled back and forth over my neck and head. The other two, Atticus and George, they were sleeping like regular beasts. Xanax helps Wrennie when the storms come through, but I ran out of the small dose size she needs. And I had my hands full massaging the terrified hounds anyways. I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of a storm, for god’s sakes. The meds work best before things get spooky.
|During a storm, more full body contact is required to settle her nerves.|
Their combined phobia is mild is compared to Murray’s, the dear deceased elderly stray German shepherd we had for a year. Eighty pounds of black and tan handsomeness would push his body behind the couch, behind the tv, into then out of the closets, all the while drooling. Medication, petting, hugging his big chest, holding his bear head, covering with a blanket—nothing helped. After he passed away, I had my own mild storm sensitivity for awhile. When he would get tense, I would get tense. It was infectious, the stress.
|This is not a tiny dog. This is Murray, who hated thunder.|
Tiny Dog looks hung over today, especially after her walk. Poor sleep, the sky above unleashing scary stuff. It has to feel random and personal at the same time for her. I lay awake in bed, petting the shivering chihuas, counting the seconds between flashes and thunder, to see how fast the storm was moving out. The weather passed over and Tiny Dog fell asleep tucked between my elbow and ribcage, Wren on the other side, also under the covers. I suppose I was their island of safety, and that makes my heart hurt a little, but in a good way.