Thunder strikes fear in canine hearts

·3 min read

Some dogs are scared of storms. Some more than others.

If Spot was scared, we didn’t know. Maybe she trembled in her doghouse while we humans cowered in the cellar and Mother Barn cat found a safe place in the hay. Who knows?

Back then, dogs were dogs, especially country dogs. They lived adventurous outdoor lives with many opportunities to acquire phobias. That said, those phobias had yet to come into their own.

True, Spot did have a fear of the vet. She knew when we put her in the car it was rabies shot time. She always balked.

Prozac hadn’t hit the market. Otherwise, we might have medicated Spot for those yearly traumatic experiences. Or maybe not, depending on the cost.

A friend tells me Prozac is cheaper for animals than for humans. All her cats are on it – all for different reasons. Animals are complex these days.

Meanwhile, meet Milo. He’s a smart personable (can dogs be personable?) boxer-looking dog that belongs to granddaughter Rylee and her boyfriend Dalton. He’s scared of storms.

A little thunder and Milo is likely stand up and, uncharacteristically, put his paws on the shoulders of the closest human, meaning he’s terrified and is on the verge of going a little berserk. (Yep, I was standing near him when the storm struck.)

Meet Jax (not his real name) also. He’s an elderly poodle that belongs to the mother-in-law and stepfather-in-law of the daughter of a friend of mine. How many degrees of separation is that?

Thunder scares Jax too. He has a thunder jacket. If you are thunder jacket-ignorant, it’s a jacket designed to calm dogs that need to feel hugged during storms. Maybe those jackets work; maybe not. It probably depends on the dog.

Milo has a storm sweater. It doesn’t work.

Jax is older than Milo, meaning he has a longer storm trauma treatment history. Over the years, the routine for mistress or caretaker has been to put Jax in his jacket and then to accompany him into a closet and sing “Jesus Loves Me” to him while the thunder rolls. (“Peace! Be Still!” would be my choice.)

The outlook for both dogs is that they will always be scared of storms, but now, besides following the regular routine, Jax is coping nicely by taking a calming drug. It’s a hemp product. I’d say the name, but I hate to plug anything I haven’t tried myself.

The ingredients:

Hemp seed oil plus chamomile, thiamine, passion flower, ginger, L-tryptophan, melatonin.

RESEARCH PAUSE.

In my mind, I pictured Jax getting high on his thunder medicine while his human companion was thinking about popping one of the pills herself. Makes a good story, but you can’t get high on hemp seed oil. Cannabis-wise, it contains little or no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but rather cannabidiol (CBD). I’m disappointed.

In lieu of a fun ending, here’s some useful info instead:

Stressed by fireworks? It’s that time of year. The hemp chews are good for fireworks too.

Happy Fourth!

Hanaba Munn Welch is a correspondent for the Times Record News who divides her time between Abilene and a farm north of Vernon. Her columns, as a tribute to the Childress Engine 501, always contain, amazingly, 501 words.

This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Thunder strikes fear in canine hearts Hanaba Welch column