Saturday, May 22, 2010

Neurotic Dogs

We have two neurotic dogs. I mean, really, they take the cake. You know the term, "separation anxiety"? That's them, two furry little anxieties walking around.

Indy is not too bad. She has always had a rather level head on her tiny shoulders, along with an analytical mind. Way back when they were pups, we got them some rubber balls. Soozee immediately pounced on hers. Indy, though, sat back and watched for a bit. It was like she was thinking, "What's this thing? What do you do with it? Okay, so you throw it and I bring it back? Is this supposed to be fun?" Then she got the idea, jumped in, and has been giving her ball hell ever since. Indy doesn't get too excited about most noises or new situations, but there are a few things that peg her stressometer.

One of them is thunder. Even if it's way off in the distance, so far that I can't hear it. I'll be doing something and all of a sudden here's this 16-pound wart attached to my leg, panting and drooling. If it's at night, it's worse: I'll wake up to find her standing on my chest, wide-eyed, panting, and spooked. No amount of petting will calm her down. She won't sleep and she'll make damn sure I don't sleep, either. But I can't get mad at her, poor thing. We all have our phobias, and one of hers is thunder.

Where Indy is normally a level-headed dog, Soozee is on a constant emotional roller coaster. Thunder doesn't bother her in the slightest. Instead, she gets completely freaked when Janis starts to do her hair and put makeup on. That means J's going somewhere, and Soozee may or may not be going along. So she gets worried, and I mean worried. Her little head is snapping around as she tries to figure the situation out. Eventually, she'll go out in the garage and sit on the top step. If we go anywhere, we have to go down those steps, and Soozee will be right there to remind us "take me! take me!".

Another of her phobias is the vacuum cleaner. To her, it's a noisy monster that invades her house. She'll go and hide from it. Where? The top step in the garage, of course.

A third phobia shows up whenever we get the suitcases out. She knows that means somebody's going somewhere (she figured that out long before I went to Baghdad) and that she probably will not be going along. Suitcases are Bad News. She'll sit in the middle of the living room with the saddest expression on her face and try to lay a heavy guilt trip on us. She's very good at it, too. Must've been a Catholic mother in a previous life.

But say the magic words, "Do you want to go for a ride?" and both dogs are the most joyful creatures in all God's creation. Whooopeee!! A ride!! There is much jumping about and licking of faces. They don't just wag their tails, they wag their whole bodies. Then it's out to the car and into their car seat. (Yes, we have special car seats for the dogs - it gets them up high enough to see out the windows). A five-minute trip to the dump and post office is a magic event ... as is a 20-minute trip to the studio, or an hour-long collection of errands. They're all the same to Soozee and Indy. They look out the window, they snooze, they look out the window some more. They're the best little travelers ever. Which is a good thing, because over the past few days, they've spent some serious hours in the car. They don't care where we go as long as they can go, too.

I sure did miss that when I was in Iraq. So I'm really enjoying it all now.


  1. Charlie is deathly afraid of thunder too, we have to give him "doggie downers" so he'll calm down.

    Lisa loves to go for car rides, she hands her head out the window and loves every minute of it :)

  2. I'm thinking the next installment of your blog has got to be on the level of Caesar Milan.
    You'll have to be the "Commander" of the dogs, teaching them to behave, not to freak out. Sorta like putting them through boot camp.