Thunderbolts and Lightning…Very Very Frightening

My cell phone rang and it was my mother…again.

“Just a quick question,” she said. “Are any of your dogs afraid of thunderstorms?”

The last few words were barely out and I heard a tremendous crash of thunder through the phone. My mother began laughing and choked out, “Never mind” as Chase, Charlie, Molly and George raced for the porch with her dog, Dolly hot on their heels.

I assured her that while my dogs might stick close to humans during a storm, they were not at all like my childhood dog, Drummer.

I loved my keeshond, Drummer. He was a medium-sized black and grey ball of fluff and full of playfulness and energy. He was a perfect family pet. He also was terrified of anything to do with a storm. He hated water, hated swimming and hated baths. He was terrified of thunder and would quiver and shake long before the low rumblings in the distance could be heard by our human ears. The vet prescribed a mild tranquilizer to keep him calm during storms. A great idea in theory however it could be difficult to predict when he would need it until he was already out of his mind with fear. It was not the easiest task shoving a pill down a dog’s throat when he was trembling and whimpering beneath a bed. The pill merely sedated him and did not vanquish his fears. Drummer would lie on the floor, unable to move, but the fear of the storm was still in his eyes.

It only became worse when we moved down South. The storms were most impressive: cracks of thunder that would shake the house to the foundation, wind ripping through the trees flinging pine cones, needles and branches to the ground below and violent gusts of rain pelting a deluge of water onto every surface. These were the things of Drummer’s worst nightmare. His only place of comfort in the house was in the bathroom. He would huddle in the bathtub and we would leave the fan running to drown out some of the outside noise. He would remain in his makeshift “bomb shelter” until the worst of the storm was over. A sudden storm would make things complicated if we were not at home. If the bathroom was not accessible, Drummer would dig all of the towels and sheets from the linen closet and bury himself underneath the pile. We were fortunate that he wasn’t more destructive.

Afraid of storms? Not my dogs, but storms do make them more loving and more willing to snuggle with me. As I drove home later with them through an exceptionally bad storm, all four were sleeping soundly in the back seat of the car, curled up with a blanket and not a care in the world.

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