I will want to remember August as the month where it stormed at night. Nights in the last two weeks stand out, and not in a good way. Apparently the clouds thought to do the late shift and suddenly the wind and thunder visited in the dead of the night.
The dog that had gotten used to sleeping by herself in the living room, rotating between her many beds, was suddenly restive. One wakes in the middle of the night, sometimes to the thunder, sometimes to her whining and her jumping up and scratching at the bedroom door.
The first night it happened, I was patient. Sat with the poor trembling animal, got out the tuna treats. I eventually managed to get her to fall asleep inside her crate. By then it was nearly time for the sun to rise, no point going back to bed.
But the same cycle repeated night after night… 2am, 4am, 5am… no matter the time. No matter that it’s just the howling wind, no rain or thunder. Suddenly, Donna seemed to excite easily. One could hear her outside alternating between her running click up and down the corridor and scratching at the door as her agitation grew. And yet, when you open the door, she was excited, not fearful and she calmed down very fast if the human just sat there and ignored her.
The lack of sleep made me a perfect zombie in the day. I was never one that could go without sleep for long. It slowly became easier to just lie awake and wonder, should I just leave her be outside? Will she stop it once she learns that we will not respond to her?
But it is not easy to ignore your dog, who might not just be over-excited, who might be really fearful. It is also not easy to ignore a persistent dog. Within 3-4 such nights, she had perfected the persistence of trying until she could open the bedroom door by herself.
It’s going to rain. It’s going to rain.
Do you hear me? It’s going to rain. Yes, I hear you, my dear. You make it impossible for me to ignore the weather.
Thankfully, out of the last two weeks, there were only 2-3 days where she was truly fearful and went over threshold. I’ve realised it’s not a good idea to let her stay still and focus on her own fearful doggie thoughts. Getting her off the sofa and moving, seemed to help calm her down somewhat, not a lot though but at least to rid her of the trembles.
And when she settled down, it was in a tighter curl (right) versus the more relaxed lounging pose (left).
I’ve started to take her out for long walks before bedtime – 1hour, 1.5hours – in the hope that she will wear out and sleep better through the night.
Have to say one has got to salute the parents of newborns. They’ve got to get it worse than this!
Eileen has a good article on how does one define calmness, gets one thinking!