Max is a devoted dog. He has only been with me since December, but we have become the best of pals. He wears a little grey around the eyes, so I feel his age. If I open the door to the truck, he leaps up in the back seat. He cannot stand to be left behind. He is even tempered but will chase a squirrel at blinding speed. He’s on a mission to catch a crow. He caught a possum once. He’s got hunting blood in his veins.
There are only two issues with Max. He made life for our cat miserable. Jack became completely unnerved and he is now living with our daughter, who happens to be his rightful owner anyway. So, Max is responsible for at least one feline refugee.
The other thing. Max comes unglued when it thunders and rains.
I hear that this is common for dogs. My one other dog was oblivious to storms. Not even a whimper. Max gets the tremors like he’s hooked up to a vibrator. He pants uncontrollably and drools all over the carpet, pacing back and forth.
The first time we faced this he was banging his head on our bedroom door around midnight. No scratch marks. But he was about as nervous as I was the first time I ever walked out to the end of the 10 ft. diving board. I’m pretty sure I was panting and drooling.
The crazy thing is that he wanted out. I mean, all the noise and terror was “out there”, yet all he wanted to do was to leave the house. There was no consoling him. So I opened the kitchen door and he was gone like he was shot out of a cannon.
I guess, when you panic, sometimes the only thing you know to do is run. They do it all the time in horror movies. The fear is out there. You’re begging them not to open the door. Why are they even considering going “out there”? And what do they do? They go out there and get their head chopped off and I nearly pee my pants.
So, in the middle of a deluge, with lightening busting all over the place. Thunder rattling the windows. Max runs.
When I get ready to leave for work the next morning, he is nowhere to be found. I half think poor dog and half think stupid dog. But I drive to work hoping he’s okay.
About 1:00 I get a call. His collar has my phone number on it.
“You own a black and white dog?” It’s a neighbor I know over on Highway 354 about 3 miles away.
“Sure do. You got an extra one?”
“Yeah. He’s hanging out in our garage with our dog. Other than being soaking wet, he seems fine.”
I waited until I got off work to go get him. He seemed amazed that I knew how to find him. It was still pouring rain. I towel dried him best I could. He hopped up in the truck. Panting like he’d been running for 3 miles, and drooling all over my back seat.
I have no idea how to fix this. Dog therapy? Even without the lightning and thunder, when it rains hard, he hides behind the couch. His nose completely jammed up in the corner against the baseboard. He is so calm and peaceful on most days. It’s like he’s bi-polar.
The other night, it happened again. It was in the middle of the night. We were sleeping hard. Not sure if he head butted our door or not. I wasn’t even aware that he had any issues until I got up the next morning.
“Hey sport. You made it through the night. You good?”
Lots of panting and pacing. He was glad to see me.
I flipped on the kitchen lights and started the coffee routine. Once the pot got going, I walked over to the kitchen door to turn on the porch light and take a peek at the thermometer. I stepped on something that felt pointy and rough and crunchy. Had Max been playing with Legos?
I turned on more light and could hardly believe it.
During the night, the thunder storm must have melted his brain. He chewed the window sill next to the kitchen door and pulled it out of the wall. Literally yanked a ¾” board off the nails and ripped it out of the wall. The kitchen floor underneath looked like a beaver had been at work. It was the first time he destroyed anything or even made a mess. The door frame looked like a horror movie where somebody got buried alive and tried to claw their way out of the coffin.
Now, you’re thinking “poor puppy”. I was thinking #@*! dog.
Again, he wanted out. So I opened the door and encouraged him to face his fears. It’s pouring rain. Thunder is shaking the earth. And he ran.
I’m thinking about writing him a letter. Telling him how great he is and how he has become my best buddy. How he really has nothing to fear. How the best place for him during a storm is in the house with me. How I’m his protector and that I won’t let a little rain and thunder chop off his head. That all this panic is only going to shorten his life span. Early heart attack. High blood pressure. Seizures. Nightmares. Hang in there Max. Nothing bad is going to happen.
If only he could read.
This time the next door neighbor called. I walked up to their house through the woods to get him. It was still raining. It’s been raining forever. And that night, upon the advice of others, I gave Max a dose of Benadryl. We left our bedroom door open so we could hear if he was digging a hole through the wall. But the house was not eaten. We all slept. Thank God for drugs.
I took the splintered window seal into my shop yesterday. I’ll make a new one. Maybe out of titanium.