Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Saddest Thing in the World

It's just so sad that I'll never be able to convince poor Ring Ting Ting that thunder is just Noises in the Sky.

That poor, poor, dog. She's so intrepid, so fearless in every other aspect of her life, so intelligent, so on top of things. Our running family joke is that she has a really filthy vocabulary in Dog, and curses fluently and with panache -- a Calamity Jane Cannary on four legs.

But thunderstorms just undo her. She tries to put up a brave front -- no involuntary defecation, no howling or panicking, as I've heard about with other dogs -- but no amount of hugging or ear-scratching or loving, calm words will still her trembling and panting, her desire to climb up inside my trouser leg to hide. I wish I could show her charts and graphs and Wikipedia articles explaining the sudden inrush of air that replaces a lightning-bolt with a powerful, bass-intensive cracking sound that seems to rend the sky.

But obviously that's not going to work. To her, a thunderstorm is always going to be the scariest, most dreadful thing imaginable. And there's nothing I can do about it.

The poor dog, having such a failure as a communicator for a Daddy. There, there, kid. There, there.

11 comments:

Blue Wren said...

Hmmm. Maybe Ring Ting Ting knows something about thunderstorms that you don't...

David Harmon said...

Oddly, I was woken at 4:30 AM by the storm coming in over NYC -- not the thunder, which was weak, but by the brilliant flashes of the distant lightning.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Buy some of those training treats - the little ones. As soon as she starts getting scared - give her some every couple of minutes and say good doggie - thunderstorms are good - good girl.

Dogs LIVE for treats.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

My old Doberman was like that, too. Breaks your heart to see 'em so scared. The ol' girl used to function as our own personal weather station. Occasionally, she'd disappear for no apparent reason and burrow herself under the covers of our bed. One glance out the window was all it took to figure out what was happenning -- storm's coming, every damn time. She'd pant, whine, and tremble with fear the whole time, almost exactly as you described -- a fierce Doberman reduced to tears.

We tried a few things over the years. A small dose of Sudafed (recommendation of a friend who'd had a similar problem), believe it or not, chilled her out a little bit. But, it didn't seem right sedating a dog just because of a storm, so we hardly ever did that. (That may sound over-the-top and perhaps even borderline irresponsible, but the problem was that bad.)

Kevin Wolf said...

Neddie, did I ever tell you about the time I tried to climb up a pant leg?

Too long a story,come to think. Maybe some other time.

XTCfan said...

What does the alpha dog in a pack do during storms? Once you've figured that out and learn how to mimic it (if legally and morally possible and palatable), you should be able to calm RTT's nerves...

Otherwise, just let her snfrwbed.

David Harmon said...

Stray thought: To us humans, thunder sounds like stuff banging around, To an animal, it's an angry growl from The Big doG. No wonder they get scared... ;-)

Jeremy said...

What gets me is why some dogs are nonchalant to the point of stupidity about storms etc, while others, er, aren't. My current pooch couldn't give a rat's arse for storms, or fireworks, or anything like that. But some, individual cyclists drive her into a frenzy. I know there are as many dog personalities as there are human, but still ... it is the unfathomability of it that mystifies me.

Jennifer said...

I played Mrs. Miller tunes for my dog during thunderstorms. This scared him more than the storms and made him want to leave the house. The thunder soon became his friend.

A Big Fat Slob said...

I've got a 13-year old retreiver who trembles like a freight train upon an approaching thunder storm. She starts long before we know it is coming and there is not consoling her, either. A friend with a pet store sold us some organic powder that you mix in her water and it is supposed to calm them down. It actually works a bit . . . her nerves seem less frayed. The trick though is that you've got to get in in them half an hour before the fun starts.

Linkmeister said...

We got some tranqs for Tigger for T-storms and New Year's Eve fireworks, but as mentioned, you gotta know two-three hours ahead of time. That works ok for the holiday; not so much for the storms.

She still wants to hide under the bed, though.