Friday, July 8, 2011


I just wanted to take a moment to describe to you my evening. But, a bit of a warning, this is a long post. Read at your peril. I returned home from work around 7:30. I was fairly concerned because while I was at the office a monster of a monsoon came sweeping in, and as I was driving home I realized it had swept right across town and through my neighborhood.

My concern stems from the fact that Breeze has been in fear overdrive lately. I have found a new drug-free as well as a homeopathic product that is helping quite a bit with her fear issues. (In fact, she actually slept through the fireworks on the 4th, but that is a story for another post, hopefully coming up this weekend.) As a result of the fear issues, she has taken up the lovely pastime of peeing in the house. A few times a week for the past few weeks I have come home to a puddle on the hardwood floors. (May I just mention how difficult it is to get all the pee out from between the boards of a hardwood floor?) This new turn of events are the result of her being too afraid to go outside. The monsoons have started. With force and intensity the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while. Moving trees, creaking roofs, all manor of scary things reside outside. Now she really won’t leave the house. The buzz word for the week has been patience.

A little time travel…The other day I finally figured out what I think is the nasty scary monster responsible for wigging her out so she won't go into the back yard. When she goes outside, she immediately looks towards the neighbor’s yard. The other morning I was outside with the girls and heard the announcements for the local school over their PA system. Faint, but still quite audible, coming from beyond the neighbor’s place. The minute it started, she went on a mad dash to the safety of the house and wouldn’t come back out.

Now just to back up couple of months… We were at the dog park one lovely weekend in May and there was some sort of event occurring on the other side of the very large park that surrounds the dog park fenced area. Breeze was just trembling. Tail tucked. Back hunched. Ears flat. Just all over twitchy. We packed it in early and on the way back to the car I had a flashback of the summer I spent working at the dog track. The noise wafting over from the event sounded like the PA announcer before one of the races at the track. That’s when it clicked that if I had a flashback from over 20 years ago, it would make sense that she could be having one as well. That will go to show you how much she loved her time at the track. (that was a huge helping of sarcasm there) Once I got her in the car with windows rolled up she was fine. Oh the littlest things (or in this case, big) that set her off.

So skipping right back to the present - the puddle and totally freaked out dog that were waiting for me when I got home. Might I just add that she did catch a corner of the puppy pad that has been gracing the spot she favors for christening between the kitchen and dining rooms, but not the whole thing. Sigh. So I am trying to remain calm and not be annoyed as I cleaned up the mess, again. This is not something I can punish her for. Even if I were to catch her in the act. If I am home, she typically comes in to let me know she has to go. If I go with her she will hesitantly head outside. If it is windy and there is lots of noise and movement I have to put her on the leash and walk with her to get her to walk in the yard. Last night we had lots of noise and movement going on.

So imagine this: me walking Breeze on a lead in the back yard to try to get her to pee. I keep my yard fairly clean, but let me tell you there were prayers being offered that I didn’t find any deposits from today to sink into while walking around in the near dark. The wind picked up. Trees started moving. The shed door had come open during the storm and suddenly started banging against the side of the building. Something crashed in the neighbor’s yard. A kid a street over yelled. Breeze just hunkered and became my newest yard statue.

(Aside. For those of your who have or have had greyhounds you are quite familiar with the fine artistry of a greyhound statue. For those of you not privy to this phenomena, a bit of a description. Occasionally a greyhound will decide not to move a step further. I mean, not an inch. They freeze into a 65 pound chunk of flesh, muscle and bone. With Breeze it occurs when she is scared. Then she gets that determined look, the one that indicates that, short of dragging, she’s not moving any further. You would think it would be easy to persuade the now frozen beast to take continue with its’ journey. Nope.)

By now it is apparent, this is just not working. At all. So I decide the main problem right now, aside from all the obvious ones, is that there are just too many noises for her to worry about. So we all traipse back into the house. I decide I am going to work out a hearing protection thing of some sort. Lacking ear muffs (because, you know, Tucson and no snow in the winter) I decided on cotton balls nestled in her ears held in with two bandannas wrapped around her ears to help with soundproofing. Back outside. Better. She’s frantically scanning for any movement, but not reacting to most of the sounds. Finally, maybe she’ll pee in just one pass of the yard and I will escape having to hose my shoes off.

Dru wondering what is going on with Breeze's new ear protection.

About this time Willow and Dru decide they are quite happy we are back outside. I’m not sure I’ve previously mentioned Willow loves to play in mud puddles. Even better, is digging in mud. I have two massive holes in the yard I just don’t even bother to fill in anymore that are part of what I can only imagine is her plan to tunnel out of the prison yard for her escape.

Willow and Dru decide this is the perfect time to take full advantage of the products of the monsoons, the extraordinarily large puddles that have magically appeared, for they were not there earlier. I look up from my intent scans of the ground and notice the two of them running and skipping through the back yard. Puddles, mud, broken toe be dammed.

Now for the million dollar question. How do you give a command for two dogs to listen to you when they are in the middle of a big romp without raising your voice so they can hear you over all the splashing and barking because you don’t freak the one who is already in ultimate freaky panicked overdrive. You don't, not at first. You just can’t take the chance of sending Breeze into a further state of panic.

You can say “Willow” or “Dru” conversationally or snap your fingers. But none of those actions will penetrate the balls out running and sliding in the mud taking place in the back portion of the yard. Now my fear is no longer on freaking Breeze out more or stepping in dog poo, it is that Willow will have undone all the healing completed in her toe over the past 5 weeks by snapping it in one of the massive holes or on rocks or on Dru as they play. So I did raise my voice in order to penetrate the focused leaping, twirling and skidding, so they would hear me. They did and eventually proceeded into the house. It was apparent by the way she pranced past me, smug in her playground antics, there was no damage done to the toe. Whew.

In no way, at this time, am I thinking of the possible condition of her bandage.

That’s right, the fresh one applied on her dainty foot this morning. When she and I traveled the 40 minute (one way) trip to our vet. She had another bandage change and an x-ray. Her toe is healing phenomenally well. Not until we got back inside where there is full light does it register. My white dog is now a brindle. The bandage is soaked and covered in mud. It soggy and crumpled from loosening on her foot. Sigh. Time for another trip to the vet for an unexpected bandage change.

Willow and no longer effective bandage after her mud party.

I tried to look at the positive side of things. Though, by now I feel as though I have lost complete control of my household. It's just chaos. The good news is that I could see the condition of the bandage due to the fact I was inside the house because the modified hearing protection worked for Breeze and she finished her business. Outside. Also, Dru was just as happy to have played with Willow in the mud; and even more impressed by how well muddy dog prints show up on a freshly washed and pee-free floor. And, I’m sure, Willow will be quite thrilled she gets to go for another ride tomorrow and gets to hang out with her second family at the vet’s office as she gets her bandage changed again.

ETA - We are in fact heading to the vet this afternoon for a new bandage. And Breeze will be joining Willow for the ride. She cut her foot during playdate this morning. It's not severe, but due to the location on the top of the knuckle, she is going to have it looked at. I am starting to think there is a curse on my household. I keep saying I am going to wrap them in bubble wrap, perhaps its time to get the roll out.


Sue said...

Have you tried dog DAP collars, plug ins or sprays? I use the spray for Song and it does calm her. If I am going out for a while I use the plug-ins.

Glad after all the antics, no dogs or you were seriously hurt.

houndstooth said...

We've tried a calming collar on Lilac, and that helps to a degree, too. I don't think it will solve the problem you're having on its own, but I do think it would help her relax in combination with some of the other things. Some dogs just have a lot of anxiety, no matter what you do. Our boy, Hawk, was always finding a new phobia du jour. He was very sensitive to noise, and a part of me wonders if in some ways, if he'd been human, if he might have been considered mildly autistic. His fears didn't have to be of an auditory nature, though. One summer, after spending a year here and being fine with them, he decided that the cords on our floor fans were evil. Then it became newspapers, After that, it was the flyswatter. Anyway, I can feel your pain. Both on the wet bandage, and on the other issues, too! We covered Blueberry's splint with an old IV bag when she went outside. We'd slide it over her splint, then tape it on at the top until we got back inside. She still managed to kick it off a few times, though, always when it was wet and soggy outside!

jet said...

oh my dog, that was a big day!! i am glad your hearing protection worked for Breeze... I remember NSN trying out some earmuffs on Reagan - might work for Breeze? Poor girl.

Pup Fan said...

Oh goodness... you did have quite a day. I hope that Breeze's cut is okay and that you get some time to relax soon. Poor pup, and poor you - I hope the hearing protection helps.

Helene said...

That's a pretty creative scarf/noise muffler you invented for Breeze on such short have a hectic but happy household!!!

bcarrillo10 said...

Besides the obvious "Holy drama batman! Poor you and poochies!" comment. On the lighter side, I would like to call to attention the awesomeness of that 80's turquoise and black checkered bandanna expertly utilized in the doggie ear protection. Only someone that knew you back then could have full appreciation for that. Would this happen to be one that was pulled directly off your entirely bandanna covered bedroom wall? Was Prince's Purple Rain blaring in the background during this shot? Were you upset because the dog drama distracted your break dancing practice? Just wondering. <3 ya sis!

Suzanne said...

Dude! I cannot believe you would drag up the past on the blog. And, yes, I do believe it was off the bandanna wall. BTW, at that moment, it was Stevie Nicks playing in the background. Phhttt.

bcarrillo10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bcarrillo10 said...

Hee Hee! *wipes tear from eye* I KNEW it was from the bandanna wall. That is so radical!