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By Shauna Glenn
My dog, Buddy, is entering a 12 step program to reclaim his inner dog. It appears that Buddy is deathly afraid of thunderstorms. We had such a storm last night. I was sleeping peacefully when I felt a huge weight on top of me. I rolled over and said, “Not now, I’m sleeping,” assuming it was my husband. Then I noticed that whoever or whatever was sitting on top of me was extra hairy and panting. Still though, could have been my husband. But then the licking and the weeping began and I sat up and realized our 80 pound lab was the whoever/ whatever lying on top of me. When I sat up he stepped right on my thigh with his giant feet and it was all I could do not to cry out. I pushed him off the bed, grabbed the empty water glass sitting on the night stand and headed for the kitchen. Buddy was right behind me, his nose literally up my butt. Just then the thunder clapped and Buddy jumped up and knocked me forward which caused the glass to fly out of my hand and smash into a million tiny shards all over the floor.
I cursed and looked at the clock. It was two am and I was now sweeping and mopping the floor. Buddy stayed close to me the entire time. Twice he stepped on my feet as I tried to maneuver around him–he was getting on my last nerve. I looked into his worried face. It was like he was saying, “hold me please.” I went to the sofa and sat down and he climbed up and sat in my lap. Now if my husband had walked in right then and seen us he would have wondered what the hell was going on. But since he can sleep through ANYTHING I didn’t have to worry about explaining myself and this peculiar scene. As we sat there arm in paw, I remembered my girlfriend whose dogs are also afraid of thunder storms. She gives them each a shot of vodka and that seems to take the edge off their nervousness. For a moment I considered giving it a try but then thought, why waste perfectly good vodka? It’s not like he’s going to enjoy it. So I scratched that idea. I looked Buddy in the face again and said, “here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to beat this fear you have of storms at its own game. Repeat after me: I embrace my inner dog, I love my inner dog, I reclaim my inner dog.” Buddy tilted his head sideways and I said, “Well, go on–say it.” But nothing. He just sat there in my lap and stared at me. Then I realized I was talking to a dog and expecting him to talk back and that I probably needed to put myself back to bed before my husband DID wake up, find me having a conversation with our dog who was SITTING IN MY LAP and have me committed.
I talked Buddy into getting off me and he followed closely as we made our way back to the bedroom. He lay down next to me (on the floor of course) and I spent the next two hours trying to go back to sleep. The good news was that the storm passed and Buddy was now snoring. The bad news was I was wide awake. After hours of tossing and turning I finally fell asleep. When I got up in the morning, I forgot Buddy was lying next to the bed and I tripped over him and fell down,
nearly breaking my leg. I cursed out loud and thought for sure this would wake up my still sleeping husband. But no, he didn’t move. And then I thought, he has absolutely no idea what strange things go on here during the night. He’s never aware if the kids wake up sick or if one of them has a scary dream. He misses out when there’s a storm and Buddy jumps in bed with us. He’s unaware that if the cat isn’t put out at night, she scratches on the door to get out, but when I
get up to let her out, she runs and hides from me–only to repeat the same “game” over and over until I finally outsmart her, catch her and throw her outside. It must be nice to be oblivious.
And as for Buddy and his fear of storms, well, we’re working on it. That is to say there’s no storm in the forecast.