California has been pounded by rainstorms this week, complete with thunder, lightning and lots of power outages. Add one nervous, neurotic terrier and it’s a recipe for disaster. Or at least a week of no sleep. Lucy would be that terrier. And from the first loud clap of thunder on Tuesday, she became the shivering, hyperventilating poster pet for animal medication.
The problem is that her fears didn’t manifest as fear of thunder, lightning or even loud noises and flashes of light. They translated into fear of anything that sounds like water — including showers and running faucets — and anything that flashes — including a light switch going on or the flicker of the television set. Her immediate response is to dive under the bed and start hyperventilating as she frantically tries to dig a hole in the floor boards. This has been pretty much around the clock behavior, although night time is the worst time. It’s safe to say that nobody has had much sleep around here for a week. Not to mention that there hasn’t been much showering going on. I have two choices for a shower. I can lock her out of the bathroom and endure her howls and cries. Or I can bring her into the bathroom and watch her completely lose it as the water hits the tile. Both options give me about a 90 second window. Needless to say, there is no hair washing.
Now you would expect that this would be the moment for the heartwarming solution. Where little Oscar, her terrier brother, snuggles up and calms her, resolving the whole situation. But that would be the wrong movie.
Oscar, for all his pretend ferocity, is usually completely under the paw of Big Sister Lucy. He gobbles down his food because, if she finishes before him, she’ll rush over and grab the remainder in his bowl. He is relegated to one special corner of the bed. If he steps into another area, Lucy chases him right back. It goes without saying, that she owns all the toys. But there is now one terrier who is completely unafraid of storms. And he’s been leisurely eating his dinner and hers, stretching out and claiming all parts of the bed. And he now has all the toys. So much for terrier love.
Luckily California has about one month of winter and about a week or two of it is usually extreme. That means we are getting to the end of this storm season. I can’t imagine how the balance of power is going to shift once Lucy can emerge from her phobias. It’s probably not going to be pretty.
Note: Any post that references a Doors song seems to require a hippy trippy photo illustration. I’m playing around with FX Photo Studio, an iPhone application that lets me manipulate photos in hundreds of ways. This is my “Flashback to the Sixties” style.
And speaking of The Doors, this parody by Weird Al Yankovic gave me a much needed chuckle through all the madness. Ladies and Germs, I give you “Craigslist”:
oh poor lucy! but i have to confess i’m loving that oscar is getting all the toys he wants and is stretched out on the bed.
enjoy it while you can oscar.
Calling Cesar Millan…
Better not visit Oregon after all Lisa. We get rain…. A LOT of rain
Just for the record, I love the rain. I just don’t love what it does to a certain neurotic terrier.
Our old Dalmatian used to tremble in storms. She was large, but she would practically sit in our laps.
Oscar and Lucinda…your pups made me think of it. Have you seen it?
More than one person has thought our dogs were named after the Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes characters in that movie.
But Lucy was so named when our first dog was Charlie. (Although her full name is not Lucille Van Pelt but Lady Lucinda Lavinia Doglington-Smyth.) Oscar refused to answer to any Peanuts type name such as Linus or Schroeder. But he stood up and made boxing moves, and he’s a brown-faced handsome guy. So he became Oscar de la Hoya. Although his English name is Sir Oscar Reginald Doglington-Smyth, Baronet. (Smooth Fox Terriers, as terribly English dogs, must always have a proper British name no matter what their “official” name may be.)
Poor Lucy. Our Nutmeg (Tocoa Wicklow Nutmeg, if you must) terrier is also terrified of storm. We had a boomer the other night and she followed my husband around underfoot until bedtime. That night, she had to sleep with us. She’s had other stormy nights where she has worried herself into barfing all over the couch. She has some other skittish moments, but she’s a good dog, otherwise. I think that kind of nervousness must be some kind of a breed trait?
Fear? a BREED trait for Terriers!?! that sounds like an oxymoron to me! But alas, my experience has been the same… 2 SFT’s in the house and one of them is deathly afraid of thunder, guns, fireworks – any loud sudden noise. That would be Flash. Sammie (aka Firecreek Queen of Everything) totally ignores loud noises, but cowers at a loud voice. Enjoy your newfound dominance, Oscar – while you can. Rest assured, my lad, that Lucy will be her old domineering self real soon!
I would say the true Fox Terrier trait is to be unafraid of anything. That’s Oscar. (Except when Lucy dominates him.) Lucy has always been a Nervous Nellie and is afraid of everything: thunder, lightning, ironing boards, garbage trucks, sneezing…
She even cowers if Rush Limbaugh happens to show up on the TV. But then, she’s a Democrat.