Stormy Weather, Stupid Dog

Storm's over Storm's over Storm's over
There was a big storm today. Thunder, lightning, buckets of rain and a tornado watch.

Which means that Grace, our dog, was a family-sized carton of nervous breakdowns.

I honestly don’t know how this dog can live through another overcast day. No amount of reassurances, hugs, dog biscuits or pieces of American cheese will convince her that we’re not under attack by angry terrorists with weapons of fireworks and scary flashlights. 

Will she never learn that we all made it through the last assault safely? Doesn’t she remember that the only injury during the last battle was that she bruised her elbow – or wrist . . . whatever that bendy thing is in her legs . . . or arms – when I rolled the wheely desk chair into her? 

I swear this storm stress makes her hair fall out even more than it normally does. If she had opposable thumbs, she’d mix herself a gin and tonic.

As bad as Grace is, she’s not as bad as my childhood dog, Jenny, who was so afraid of storms, she wouldn’t let any of us sleep.  Jenny would go from bedroom door to bedroom door, scratching until you opened it and then nudging you with her cold nose. Back and forth. Just when you’d start to fall back asleep, here she’d come, scratching, nosing and pawing until you got up and shared her anxiety.

Dogs are so weird. The dogs in my life have been: Betsy the boxer dog I had when I was very little, who according to Laney legend, jumped out of a second-story window of our house, not once, but twice; Rusty, my brother’s hunting dog, who barked so much that our next-door-neighbors used to throw bones at him, either to shut him up or cause a concussion; Jenny, my main childhood dog, a big black poodle-hound who chewed almost every shoe I owned, my sister Reenie’s wedding gown and half of our front door; Schnitzel the Psycho Democrat Weiner Dog (that pretty much tells that story); Spanky the border collie that we got when our kids were little, who used to attack mittens; and now Grace, the Akita who will lick you ‘till you bleed. And warn you of storms.

And I don’t think my dogs have been the weirdest. Our friends George and Arlene had a dog who ate glass Christmas tree bulbs on an annual basis. My friend Barb’s dog, Marley, had a Popsicle stick wedged in the roof of its mouth for what they figure was months, based on the stench of his breath. My sister Pam’s dog, Jessie, used to eat frozen dog turds in winter (“poopsicles,” Pam called them). 

Dogs. You can’t live with ‘em, you can’t live without . . . oh, wait, yes you can. We have them because we want them. They’re optional. We voluntarily pay money for them, pay their medical bills, buy them gourmet dog foods that don’t upset their sensitive stomachs and their allergies, and what do they do? Raid the bathroom waste baskets and eat dirty Kleenex (and worse), roll in poop, shake all over you when you’re trying to give them a bath, drink out of the toilet bowl, and lick themselves silly in front of company. And fill the house with the smell of canine angst whenever there’s as much as a spring rain.

If we ever are under attack and Beaumont Reserve in Lexington, Kentucky, becomes a war zone, I’m sure I’ll be warned by old First Alert over here. 

If you’re at all worried, get yourself a dog, the crazier the better. And if you’re a cat person, you’re out of luck. Meow just isn’t effective.