Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Could Write A Book On This Dog

Seriously. It's like culture shock living in a place where consumer fireworks are legal and thunder storms roll in and then back out with the greatest of ease during summer months. And I'm not the only one feeling like I'm not in Kansas (or in this case, California) anymore. Toto (or in this case, Beck) feels it too.

In San Diego county, all consumer fireworks or "safe and sane" fireworks are illegal. Obviously, certain companies and organizations are granted permission to have fireworks displays and thus, we don't miss out on Fourth of July festivities. But the use of consumer fireworks is strictly forbidden. The San Diego Country Sheriff's Department has the authority to seize the fireworks and cite or arrest those bearing them. In Utah the following are legal for personal use: Cylindrical and cone fountains, wheels with no more than 6 drivers, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, smoke devices, wire sparklers under 12” in length, party poppers, trick noisemakers, ground chasers that do not travel more than 10 feet laterally, snakes, and glow worms. The dog has just survived two of the three "fireworks" holidays and now, I hope, we don't have to worry about him committing sparkler related suicide again until New Year's when we start these shenanigans all over again.

But the thunder is another issue. I quite like the thunder. If it weren't for the fact that I am the proud owner of a big hairy baby I would welcome the afternoon storms. But it's hard to get excited about a particularly loud clap when it sends your canine into cardiac arrest. This afternoon was no different. My dog was so inconsolable that all I could do was hold his head in between my legs, place my hands over his ears in hopes that I was at least muffling the sound, and let him shake. For real. He was shaking so violently it was as though he was experiencing a gran mal seizure. I kept speaking to him in the most soothing voice I could muster which wasn't much since all I wanted to do was ask him how, exactly, he could possibly come from the same order as the seemingly fearless wolf. My tone, to the trained ear, may have sounded slightly condescending. He continued to shake. I moved my hands from his ears and tried to calm him by petting his back. I could feel his heart thundering (Ha!) around in his chest and I wondered if it might, actually, explode. So then I got the brilliant idea to try to take his mind off of the noise by brushing his teeth. I realize that this seems like a pretty stupid thing to do. I'll admit that it wasn't the best laid plan but our dog is the sweetest fur ball on earth. He wouldn't try to bite a fly if it attempted to make residence in his mouth. He never snarls. Ever. Even if you cover his food with gravy, let him eat a bite or two and then take it away. I mean, we don't do that because that would be incredibly mean but that's just to say he is not possessive of his food at all. And he allows a two year old to clobber him, pounce on him, yank his tail, pull his ears, and grab his teeth with nothing more than a slight roll of the eye. Try brushing his teeth in the middle of a thunderstorm, however, and the dog goes berserk. He started out fine, laying his head in my lap, licking at the toothbrush when all of the sudden a clap of thunder erupted just outside. He clamped down on a couple of my fingers. It didn't hurt and it didn't break the skin and he wasn't mad at me, he was just very, very, thundiferously agitated. I decided that, really, it wasn't necessary to brush his teeth right that minute. He opened his mouth right after he'd closed it. And then he licked me with crazed eyes and proceeded to bury his head in my lap and shake with wild abandon.

The thunder has been gone for awhile now. I keep reassuring him that the world is, most likely, not going to end today. He's watching me with skeptical eyes, knowing that it's only a matter of time before the loud noises strike again.


  1. oh, poor Beck. we too live in the land of all things explosive, including the weather.

  2. oh, I forgot, you wanted to know about my new blog look. :o) I don't remember how I found her, but some blog I was on was really cute and had a link to the web design. You'll see her little ad on my blog, just click on it. It was inexpensive and she's very sweet and fun. Thanks for the compliment. I'm not all that happy with it, so she's actually coming up with something different, stay tuned.

  3. I love the picture you paint with your words. I feel as though I were there watching your poor doggy shake.

  4. My husband is always telling me that I should have chosen to get a nice, sane dog... like a golden retreiver, especially when my dog is stealing things and eating the carpet. Maybe I'll have him read your post so that he'll understand that apparently there are no sane doggies.

  5. Poor baby. We have three dogs, and they all react with varying degrees of insanity to fireworks, although they seem to ignore thunder completely. For that, I'm grateful.