Like many dogs, my Callie gets anxious when the energy changes in the atmosphere “tell” her that a storm is approaching. She starts to whine and pant, and if the energy is strong enough she runs into the bedroom to get to her “safe” spot. Actually, her storm anxiety used to be much worse than it is now. It started about three years ago when I read a story about a young man whose ten-year-old Golden Retriever was killed by lightning on the young man’s 17th birthday. The dog was sleeping under a tree when a storm came up suddenly…lightning struck the tree and the energy that travelled down the trunk of the tree and into the roots killed the dog. I was at work that morning so I had to run out to the Ladies’ Room to fight back tears. After that, I wouldn’t let my own dogs stay outside during the day if storms were in the forecast…I called the petsitter and arranged a few visits for the day. My own anxiety transferred to Callie. For a long time, even inside the house and safe, Callie would whine & pant AND try to climb into my lap. Callie is an almost-90-pound Golden Retriever; I weigh less than 140 lbs., so you can imagine how that feels! Well, over time my own anxiety has eased somewhat, and as a result, so has Callie’s.
Now, with all that said, we have had some nasty storms around here lately. Not as bad as the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa or Joplin to be sure, but much nastier than I’m used to seeing. Last week a storm went through our area that the meteorologists call a “microburst”. I call it a “mini tornado”! The wind was so strong that it literally rocked our Silverado (pick-up truck) as we sat at a red light not far from home. We had to take a different route home because the lower end of our own road was littered with downed tree branches and power lines in three separate places. When we got home, the house was completely dark except for the little bit of daylight streaming through the windows. The rain was coming down in buckets so we made a mad dash for the downstairs front door. Both dogs were never happier to see us than they were at that moment! Last night we had another “microburst”, but not nearly as bad as the one last week. We were at home when this storm hit….I took the pictures below from the front porch just before the wind kicked up and nearly blew me off the porch.
The one on the bottom is – to me, at least – the scariest one. It reminds me of some of the pictures that the Weather Channel showed of the “hooks” at the bottom of the storm cells that created the tornado in Joplin.
Then, this morning, it started getting really dark outside again, so I grabbed my camera and went back out on the front porch. I was able to get this video clip before the drizzle turned into a whipping downpour….
I took a video clip inside the house of Callie’s reaction to the storm, but it didn’t come out very well. She actually did very well – she only whined and panted for about 2-3 minutes and then relaxed enough to clean Shadow’s face. Amazing how a human’s energy effects a dog’s energy!! Callie is my more energy-sensitive dog – she picks up on EVERYTHING I’m feeling even before I realize I’m feeling it. So, as long as I’m relaxed during a storm, Callie will calm down fairly quickly. Last night’s aggravating lack of power kept me in a “disturbed” state of mind, but as soon as the power came back on, I relaxed and Callie came out of hiding (she curls up on our bed or on the floor between the dresser and a chair in the other bedroom). I could do very well without these creepy storms but I have a feeling we’re going to have more of them this summer (and in future summers). I guess I better learn to meditate!!!