Monday, July 25, 2005

And speaking of fear . . .

. . . it's thundering out right now. Storms are a huge blessing for us in drought-stricken Illinois. The ground is cracked, parched. We've all been watering like crazy, but it's hard to keep up when there's no water to be seen. So the gratitude around here is palpable.

Except from Schafer the Dog. Schafer the Dog is not grateful for storms. Schafer the Dog is unrelentingly terrified of storms. How do we know this? How do we divine his innermost feelings, his angst? Could it be the way he tucks his tail completely between his legs when the booms start? Or perhaps he communicates it by the frantic manner in which he, small moose that he is, climbs into the lap of any available person at the first crack of thunder?

It's not terrible tough to figure out THIS animal communication. Schafer the Dog is a wuss and a wimp when it comes to thunder. At the first sign of a storm, usually long before we have a sense of impending doom, he begins to pace. Back and forth. To and fro. Finding me. Finding Annie. Finding Jonathan. Finding Carl. Seeking solace among his packmates and driving us batty in the process.

If it simply rains, no problemo. He doesn't like to get wet. But he's not afraid of wetness, unlike those of us who occasionally have anti-perspirant failure. He just doesn't care for it, and would prefer not to venture out into it. So I can't merely let him out at night, before bed, if it's raining. I must walk him on the leash, in my jammies, until he finally gives in and pees.

So rain is doable. What is not doable is thunder. The poor guy is terrified by it. As I mentioned before, he desperately wants to climb into one of our laps. Into. On top of. Burrow in to. Having a large, nay, extra-large dog climb into your lap while you are typing at the computer is not particularly pleasant. Nor is it conduce to writing a good, solid blog.

If he's not in one of our laps, he is under something. He prefers to climb under one of the computer tables, as they are both in corners, affording maximum hiding coverage. Frankly, we're not sure exactly HOW he fits under one of them. But he manages to squirmy wormy his way there. Then, Schafer lies there, panting. Audibly. Loudly. Lustily. Wetly.

Usually on my feet.

If a storm happens at night, as they often do, woe be to those who plan to sleep. My children prefer to sleep with their doors open. My daughter, in fact, prefer to sleep with her door open and the dog ensconced on her bed. Except when it thunders. Schafer's preferred position during a thunder storm is face-first. Under your pillow. It is not easy to sleep with a dog under your pillow. Particularly not when that dog only stays there for a moment, then paces on your bed, applying his drippy dog breath to your face, then diving under the pillow once more. Repeat all night long--or until the thunder stops.

I've urged the children to follow their parent's example. Sleep with the door closed, for crying out loud. Then one only has to deal with the occasional baying and moaning that occurs as the dog camps out next to the door. But their fear of the dark is apparently bigger than their fear of no sleep, so they continue to deal with the dog during storms.

It seems to be a reverse Napoleon thing, these big dogs. I've never known a small dog who was so easily frightened. They puff out their chests and exude bravado during the scariest of dog-scaring events. But big dogs? They often seem to be big only in size, not in courage. Just like my Schafer dog.

Pray for the storms to end before 11pm, please.

Until tomorrow,


Post a Comment

<< Home