As Louie sat there shaking because of the storm, all I could think about was my need to hold him tight and calm his fears. Just talking to him and telling him that everything was going to be okay didn't seem to be enough. I felt the urge to give up all our progress and reach for him to give him a gentle touch and let him know I was here, there was nothing to worry about. Of course this didn't happen because I also am one of the things he's worried about, I am his fear.
As always, Louie continues to open my eyes to new things and teach me more than I could ever have wanted to learn about dogs, animals. I am an animal lover, as I'm sure you are as well, but have you ever really looked into things that you wonder about just because something doesn't seem to have the reaction you were thinking they should have? We google so much about ourselves, what have you googled lately about your furbaby?
Just to name a few of what I've googled over the past almost two years. How to catch a stray dog? How to earn a stray dogs trust? How are feral and stray dogs different? Can a feral dog be domesticated? What is a free-range dog? Do wild dogs have dew claws? What are the mating habits of dogs? Sedating a stray dog. How does sedation effect a dog? Wild dogs groom habits. How do feral dogs stay groomed? How do you catch a feral dog? And most recently because of last night, Why are animals scared of storms?
The sky lights up as bright as daytime in the middle of the night, shaping out the trees in the distance. The pictures on the walls begin to shake and the vibration runs through your bones as the clouds rumble, hitting one another. For anyone, this can be a very nerve racking time. For our children, pets, and wild animals this can be a traumatizing time.
I always thought that when animals go running from storms, birds fly for shelter, it was because they could feel the vibration in the earth, the change in winds. There had to be some reason that animals always sense the weather changes. As I continued to research and find a lot of the same thing, they just don't understand the loud random noises and they're scared of them. Seems like an easy explanation right, wrong. I wasn't going to accept that that was the reason Louie stood shaking at my living room door last night. There had to be something more behind it. He didn't find solace in my laundry room in front of another door just because of an "unknown noise".
I continued to look further, search different things and of course click and then click and click again to different pages. I think they call this the "rabbit hole", you tend to find yourself in it often if you have any type of social media. I tend to find myself in it while looking for solutions and ideas to continue moving forward with Lou. Eventually I find the answer that seems the most helpful, makes sense and even seems logical. This time was no different.
I found an article, blog, little piece of information that makes more sense and is more logical than anything else I read regarding dogs being afraid of thunderstorms. It was from National Geographic. Unfortunately, it wasn't a full article because well, they want you to subscribe and pay a fee to read the full article. It did however help me down another rabbit hole because let's face it, they can't be the only ones to find this to be the reason.
So here I am, on my lunch break, searching Google "static, thunderstorms and dogs". Literally that was what I entered in my search bar. It came up with the same article, go figure. Then I typed in the Veterinarian's name, Nicholas Dodman, and there are a ton of articles that his name was in, including one from vetsoftherockies.com that explains one of his theories on "Why are dogs are afraid of thunderstorms?"
In this article it states the "common" reasons for the fear of thunderstorms that I mentioned before, it also says that when severe weather comes through, the barometric pressure changes. Pressure, well that would make sense for why the birds go all crazy. Ever been in an airplane and your ears pop, not delightful. Also, when the barometric pressure changes, it causes electricity in the air. So how does this effect animals with fur? It gets "tangled" in their fur causing it to have an electric charge.
What do you do after you've rub a balloon on your head and your hair stands up? If you're me, you touch the person next to you and give them a little shock. Funny right? Now think about that in terms of your fury best friend, not so funny. When their fur becomes tangled with electricity, it sends little shocks through them. Can you imagine feeling the pressure change because your body starts to "tingle"?! I would be terrified of storms too, well, actually I am. Which is more reason why I need Louie to want to snuggle with me during them.
Dogs often find comfort in a bathtub or in the basement. Not because it's where we would go if a tornado hit, it's because these locations are grounded. No electricity will pass through adding to their already uncomfortable state. So it's no surprise as I read this theory, trigger, suggestion and realized that Louie found comfort in my laundry room. Coincidentally laying on a dryer sheet that, as you can see is overflowing from the trash can.
He has spent so many storms out in the streets. He's been through a hurricane, tornados, and who knows what else. It breaks my heart to think about him spending any time alone during any normal day. To hear that he may have tiny little shocks, or that's what I hope they feel like, during a storm kills a little piece of me inside.
I want to make him know that he's not alone. He never has to be alone, as long as he wants me here to help him find comfort and continue to trust. So the next time your peanut begins to panic, jumps in the bathtub or get anxiety because of a storm that is coming through, take a moment and think of this. Hopefully you have some "fragrance free" dryer sheets laying around and give them a quick and gentle rub, maybe it will help them a little.