Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring

When it decides to rain around these parts, it can solid rain. The storms here are violent and don't fit the pattern we all knew back in Maryland. The first time we had thunder and lightening in January, the two oldest dogs, now both gone, cried "No fair!" Gracious and Caruso had each independently become severely thunderphobic in their dotage. I don't know who detested distant rumbling more: oh how it tore my heart to see my darling, dignified seniors shaking violently, tongues curled in panic panting, eyes wild with terror. It was so bad that I got drugs for them from the vet, after trying the diffusers with mom's pheromones, and the herbal stuff which had no effect on anything but my purse. Even the drugs from the vet were a wash. So great was their fright, that the dose had to be enough to render them wobbly and incoherent, which brought on its own set of fears.

Now Very Old Dog, who will be fourteen next month has become a thunder hater. Thank goodness, Maria, just turned thirteen, does not mind the boomers in the least. The dogs - all nine - and I took Bill to Paducah's little airport yesterday. The storm warnings were dire, but his flight was on. Barkley International (that cracks me up) Airport has two or three commercial flights in and out per day. The sky above our farm in Maryland was always host to multiple planes, their trailing stripes criss crossing in some nonsensical Tic Tac Toe of the gods. Here, a plane in the sky is something to make everyone, even the dogs, pause and notice.

We dropped Bill off, and then went on to the Kennel Club for Tuesday practice. I had to move some equipment and tidy a bit in preparation, and as I was outside shaking a throw rug, I saw Bill's plane fly over. I jumped up and down and waved like a wife at a returning World War II sailor. Only instead of waving a hanky, I was waving a big hairy throw rug with dirt and dog hair forming a cloud around me. "Bye Bill! Here I am, honey! Here! Here!" Jump, jump. Silly, but there you go.

As soon as the first person and dog arrived for practice, the skies opened. The Kennel Club building has a metal roof, and there are overhangs on each side under which you can park. The rain crashed down, and the noise obliterated all other sounds. I ran out to check on Very Old Dog in the van. He was mildly concerned, but not the least frantic. I gave them each two biscuits and brought Swede William in to practice.

It poured the entire two hours, making our informal conformation and obedience practice pretty much an individual thing between folks and their dogs. If we tried to help each other or compliment something, it went like this:

"Wow, she looks great tonight!"

"Are you talking to me?"


"I didn't hear you?"

"Oh, she looks really good!"

"What crook's in the 'hood?"

"No, I said she is doing great!"

"Well, of course she's chewing bate, I just gave it to her!"

"Never mind."

So we mostly communicated with smiles and nods and thumbs up.

If you want to see nine disgusted dogs, come witness mine after a trip to the Kennel Club which did not involve running in the fenced area. Add to that being dragged out of their warm, dry van in a torrential downpour and being pushed through the gate into our little yard, and you've seen the worst. Oh they were not happy campers. They do love the attacks of the sillies that come with being inside and wet, though, and soon we were all a chaotic crash of towels and toys and woo-wooing. Maria squeaking the purple monkey at a maddening rate of six squeaks per second, Sammy was shaking the life out of the platypus sending her egg babies flying, and Looch was pouncing from one flying egg to the next. Swede William was overwrought and thought he could hump Lindy Loo who was trying to run laps around the kitchen island, but not getting very far with her Swede William anchor. Delia felt the need to chastise Swede William for such an inappropriate display, and stalked him with her head, tail, ears and dander up. Looking at me to say, "Fix this, or I will! Stop the little pervert!" Fat Charlie was hip checking me for more toweling, Mama Pajama was emptying the entire water bowl while I was distracted. And now Very Old Dog was having a tug of war with Maria over the purple monkey. Dear merciful heavens! Two necks with bulging discs tugging and shaking and oh Lord don't do that, sweet hearts!

The thunder didn't start until one in the morning. I awoke to a distant rumble and thanked all that is good for Very Old Dog's very diminished hearing. He hadn't noticed. The next lightening was bright and long and his head popped up. I started the thunder routine. The lightning flashes, I start gently rubbing Very Old Dog's ears to blot out the sound of the thunder. It works really well, as long as I don't miss a flash. I ended up sleeping sideways across the bed, so that my hand was already on his neck. Fat Charlie was in Bill's spot in his absence, and spread out onto my pillow as well. By three the thunder had stopped, though the rain hadn't noticed, and we slept soundly the rest of the night.

It is still raining, so in lieu of walks, we're having individual play, or training play, or rubs and cuddles. As long as the thunder stays away, and leaves my Very Old Dog be, this rainy storm is feeling cozy. The daffodils are in full bloom, and that helps.

Hug your hounds

[Oh and do read the next entry down and enter the drawing for the give away!]


  1. Your last photo of the dogs is really art! The muted colors and their shining eyes are such a contrast...all that intelligence amidst the serenity.

    Rain (!) and thunder is something that Gussie will have to get used to all over again next year. Thanks for the preview of what life might be like!

    Barb (aka gussie's muzzer)

  2. and her Mom said,
    When I saw the path of the storms on the Weather Channel, I thought about you and I'm glad to see you are okay. Faeden didn't get thunderstorm anxiety until his 11th year but now it is terrible. I bought the anxiety wrap that was recommended in some of my dog publications and it has worked wonders for him. It's like being swaddled and it keeps him calm.
    Whippets, they are just wonderful!
    Loved your pictures too.

  3. I hear that "These Are My Favorite Things" works really well during thunder storms.
    Jeeze...what a night.
    Our old dog, Muse, hated thunder. Simply hated it. She would squeeze herself into some unimaginable corner and hide for the duration.
    I'm going to think of you during every thunderstorm now.

  4. Holly hated storms also, and there were several nights when she and I slept on the floor in the walk-in closet with the door closed. Not comfortable for me, but better than her pacing and panting all over the bed.

  5. LOL! I can just imagine the scene in your house with all nine dogs being silly after being outside in the icky wet. Your words express the love and laughter that fills your home (ahhh-woos too!).

    The good news is spring is on its way!! We're getting small touches of it too. Weather in the 40s and 50s, the world slowly waking up. I love it.

  6. We had the same storm system. Flash flooding in our area. I measured 7.5 inches in 24 hours! Gabi didn't pee for 18 hours :)

    The dogs were walking around the house in twos. I think they were getting ready for the ark.

    I hope you dry out fast.

  7. I'm so glad that Giacomino had you to comfort him during the storms and that they didn't last too long.

    I had to sit with poor Piper in the bathroom nearly all last weekend because of the tornadoes in Atlanta. She was a wreck. ...You wouldn't believe the damage to the downtown. I got lost walking today because they had all the roads blocked and MARTA stations closed. I think the FOX 5 camera crew actually got me on tape looking lost and confused... Apparently, because it was windy today, loose glass was still falling from the high rises.

    But I digress... :P Sorry for the rambling.

  8. Mom sure had a laugh picturing the fun all teh dogs were having getting dried off. Mom sure doesn't know how you handle nine, and I sure do NOT want to think about it. Thanks for the compliments on our blog, we sure love doing it and all the great people and dogs we have met!

  9. Hi Everybody,

    I gave you guys and award. Stop by my bloggie and pick it up when you have a chance.

    I'll catch up with you later.

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,

  10. Flash doesn't like thunder either. I don't mind it at all.

  11. I hate thunder too, far too similar to those darned fireworks. Like you, mas found DAP diffusers, herbal supplements and vet prescriptions all pretty ineffective. I just prefer to wedge myself in the smallest darkest place I can and pant it out.

    Toodle pip
    Harry x

  12. Nothing like a rainy day cozy with your favorite pooch(es). Mine neither hates thunder nor rain. He's willing to walk even if I have to wear a poncho. Loved your account of all the dogs celebrating getting in out of the rain.

    Jumping up and down waving as your guy does a fly over--that's lovely.

  13. I love that phot..the essence of coziness..I hope the thundew and lightening didn't come..I hate to think of youw sweeties fwantic with feaw..we'we having such stwong winds again that I feel like I'll blow away evewy time Mommi takes me out..and the noise thwough the skylight and the fiweplace is we have no daffies yet.
    stay safe and cozy
    I love you
    smoochie kisses,

  14. Grammie always wishes that she had more property so that she could have more dogs. She has some idea about an Old Dogs Home. We admire your heart for having so many wonderful hounds.

  15. The picture of the dogs is very interesting. All of those colors. My dogs do not hear much thunder here in Ca. so they get all nervous and barky the odd time we get a storm. My big dog barks at the ceiling.

    Do you just see how you are? You make a big lovefest out of wet dogs running all over your house. And a cozy cuddle out of a night with nervous dogs. You are an inspiration.

  16. Fat Charlie is the best bed mate!!


  17. Loved this post, Patience...what a whirlwind a rainy day brings!

    Abby used to be afraid of thunder and she would jump in the bathtub and scratch at the drain. Silly girl.

    Have a lovely Easter. Tell those nine not to chase any bunnies...Maisie is already on the prowl! xox


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