All afternoon yesterday we knew that a storm was coming. Mia can always feel it in the atmosphere and she was clingy all day. Every step I took she was right with me, and then she started tucking herself into 'safe' places like under the bathroom sink while I was washing my hands, under the desk while I sat at the computer, under my feet while I sat on the couch.
The storm started late in the afternoon and I thought it would surely be over pretty quickly. But each time the thunder seemed to recede, it would only build up again.
I've always tried to act conspicuously normal during thunder because I didn't want the dogs to be overly scared. Mia always has been a bit funny about it and she seems to be getting worse. Last night I delayed my plans to go out by about two hours because I was reluctant to leave until the thunder and lightning was done. Rain by itself is not a big problem, they can just stay under cover on the back porch, but they really don't like thunder and lightning.
At one stage I tried to leave when I mistakenly thought it was over. That debacle involved chunks of cheese to bribe them outside, and then Mia determinedly crawling onto my lap as I crouched down to give her the rawhide chewy stick they always get when we leave. Elvis had happily enough taken his, but Mia would not be bought off. Disarmed, I sat on the top step with Mimi shivering and shaking in my arms, wondering if I would ever be able to leave, and then the phone rang - it was K wondering where the hell I was. We went back inside for a while longer and I finally ended up going out about nine. Mia was still pretty unhappy about it, but they both settled on the blanket with their chewy sticks.
We got home after midnight. The dogs were hyper, but that's not unusal. Pretty soon there was a knock at the front door. It was the lady from next door, in her pajamas.
"Your dogs have been barking for the last two hours straight, right under our bedroom window", she said, looking annoyed but also quite apologetic.
She confirmed that this had never happened before. Their dog hadn't been outside - Elvis and Mia do sometimes bark at that fence, but usually because of the young feisty puppy on the other side. She said that at one point she had gone out to look over the fence, worried that something was wrong with them, and that she thought might have actually scared them and fired them up further. I mentioned that they were probably upset by the storm, that I had actually stayed home earlier to wait it out, and she agreed that the storm was 'pretty full-on'.
Of course I was shocked, and I apologised, asking her to let us know if it ever happens again. No one has ever complained about Elvis and Mia before. In the past I've asked our other neighbours if the dogs bark much when we are out, and they said they mostly just lie waiting near the gate or on the steps.
As much as I felt bad for our poor neighbours, I also felt bad about the dogs being so out of sorts. Were they just barking at a cat, or the invisible storm demons? I think I should have just stayed home for the night. I really hope that when we can have a dog door (in our own place) that will make enough difference - that even though they are scared they will feel better if they can hunker down inside the house. Of course I avoid leaving them alone in a storm whenever possible, but we can't always be here.
This morning I woke early and dozed, slipping in and out of stressy dreams. First, that the neighbour had come back about 7am, and told us that at 5am Elvis had barked (knocked?) at their door and they had let him in. Something about this didn't sound right to me and I pondered it in my dream. I asked her how he could get to either her front or back door, when he can't usually get out of our yard? In my dream I didn't think to point out that both dogs were safe inside our house at 5am anyway.
I think I woke and realised this had been a dream. But then I snoozed again, and in another dream I went out to the back yard and there was a great big hole in the fence, which the dogs must somehow have made in their frenzy the night before. Aha! So that was how Elvis got over to their place!
I half-woke again, and I was concerned that I really should call out and tell K not to let the dogs out because there was a big hole in the fence. Then I realised this had been a dream. Still, when I dozed again, I dreamed about mending the fence, only it wasn't the wood paling fence now, it was wire and I could patch the hole by bending and twisting pieces of wire across the gap.
It was not the most restful night, nor Sunday morning sleep-in.