Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Guest blogger Barry here, and I'm going to talk about thunderstorms, which I fear and loathe with a passion! Here's a photo of me after I ripped out several of my teeth while I was crated during a thunderstorm one time. I was all swollen and felt quite miserable. I had to have surgery twice to repair all the damage. It was not fun, and Mom will tell you that it was not inexpensive. And it all happened because of a nasty old thunderstorm!

I can't remember a time when I was not terrified during thunderstorms, although maybe I didn't feel that way when I was a little pup. On the other hand, my two siblings are both scared of storms, too, so either we all inherited the "fear of thunderstorms" gene or else we learned the fear from our doggy mom. Or maybe from our foster mom and dad. Anyway, by the time I finally got adopted, I was terrifically afraid of storms.

One bad thing about storms is that you can hear and feel them coming a long time before they ever arrive. So you have lots of time to suffer from dread. Maybe you have felt dread yourself sometimes, like before you had to perform in front of a bunch of people or before you went sky-diving or before you went to the dentist, and so you understand how horrible it makes you feel. What happens to me is that I start panting a lot and I drool and I get very restless. I can't sit still, and I have to pace all around and go up and down the stairs and jump on and off the bed. If it's the middle of the night when there's a storm, I pretty much drive Mom nuts by doing this, but I can't help it. The air feels all electric and crazy, and the thunder is incredibly loud, and I'm just afraid I'm going to die. And the worst part is that there's no way to get away from it all!

Actually, I'm somewhat better about storms than I used to be. The reason for this is that I now take Amitriptyline for my allergies. Amitriptyline is a drug whose name is very hard to spell.  People use it if they are depressed, but in dogs it acts kind of like an antihistamine. However, it can also make a dog calmer, which is what happened with me when I started taking it regularly. Now if there's a thunderstorm, I can at least lie down near Mom's feet and stay there instead of pacing -- unless the thunder is really, really loud.

Whenever there's a storm in the daytime, I make it a point to stick very close to Mom. I stick so close that she can hardly walk without tripping over me. This sometimes annoys her, but she understands that it is her duty to keep me safe from the scary storm. But occasionally she shirks her duty and simply leaves the house while there is a storm going on! I still can't believe she would even think of doing this, but sadly, she does. I usually try to weasel my way out to the garage with her because I can't stand the thought of her leaving me, but she won't let me go with her. She says I will be okay, and surprisingly, she's been right so far, but you never know.

One time Mom left me and Piper shut up in the bedroom when she went to a meeting. She left us there because a man was doing some work at our house, and I tend to want to bite him. So that's why Mom shut me in the bedroom. Piper came in to keep me company, so Mom shut her in there, too. Then a big, scary storm came up while Mom was gone. I was frantic, trying to get out of the bedroom, and I chewed and scratched at the door. Mom was not happy when she got home and found out what I had done. She said it was a wonder I didn't have splinters in my feet and mouth, but I didn't.

The time I mentioned before, when I pulled my teeth out during a storm -- that happened when Mom and Gabe and Piper went to the Basenji National in St. Louis. Mom boarded Mel and me at A Dog's World (now called Pooches' Paradise). Back in those days, they didn't have any runs there. They just put the dogs in crates at night. Mom knew I didn't like crates, but she thought I'd be okay for a few nights there after getting worn out with doggy daycare all day. And she would have been right if there hadn't been a terrible storm. It was so, so loud and frightening, and it seemed like it went on forever! I tried to get the door of my crate open, and I got my jaw wedged under the door. I pulled out one of my canine teeth, root and all, and broke off another canine tooth. Also some of my other teeth came out along with their roots. I cut my face and skinned up my jaw, and I bled a whole bunch. Dr. Patricia said I could have bled to death, but I didn't. In some ways I'm very tough. It just happens that I'm petrified during storms!

Anyway, that whole incident was several years ago, and I've long since healed up. Having fewer teeth is no problem for me. I can still eat all kinds of things. I never spend a lot of time chewing anyway. It's easier just to swallow stuff pretty much whole!

I wish there were something that could be done about thunderstorms. Like maybe they could be outlawed or something like that. Mom said that wouldn't work, though, because storms are an Act of God, and you can't pass a law against an Act of God. Well, you can, but it won't do much good! So I'm still trying to work out what to do about this problem. If you have any good suggestions, just let me know.


  1. I love Barry too and have been down the storm road a few times myself.

    Both Piper and Barry might enjoy looking at
    photos of Taieta(Tai-Tai)my last basenji on
    Flickr. I have both my dogs and those of my
    sister (she has 6!) on the site. Tai was the
    light of my life and I'm still not over his death from squamous cell cancer. I want another basenji but they were the dogs of my youth and at 65+ .......


  2. Barry and I looked at your photos (and so did Mom!), and we all think Tai was a very, very beautiful basenji. It is so sad that he is gone now. We can see why you would miss him! Mom thinks you are not too old to get another basenji until you're maybe 90 or so! Mom is usually right about these things, so you should take her opinion into consideration.
    Your friend, Piper

  3. dogs were very scared of rain/thunderstorms too. So...I feel bad for all of you. Now I only have cats and for whatever reason - they actually "enjoy" looking out the window when it rains, storms, etc., No doubt Barry; you think that's a bit crazy and after having dogs, it is a bit odd.

  4. Hey Piper! Have you seen this?
    I don't know if it works, but maybe you could try it on your brother??

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    You won't believe this, but Mom took me to the vet's office yesterday and they were selling these Thunder Shirt things, so she bought one just for Barry! It was even the right size and everything! So now we are waiting for the next thunderstorm, so we can try it out. Mom had tried doing an anxiety wrap on Barry before, but it kept falling off and also it didn't seem to work very well, but maybe she just didn't know what she was doing, which is quite possible, knowing Mom! LOL Anyway, now we have a Thunder Shirt for him, so we are expecting happy results!
    Your friend,

  6. Posted on Facebook April, 2011