The Panic of July

Caitlin and I have two dogs. The younger one is named Jersey and is sweet, affectionate, and great with people and animals alike. This is Jersey:

Dad, just let me sleep already.
“I’m sleepy.”

The older one is named Elly. She is terrible.

Who? Me? [Literal puppy dog eyes.]
Who? Me? [Literal puppy dog eyes.]
Don’t get me wrong, I love Elly unconditionally – I might even love that dog too much for all the Hell she’s put us through. You see, Elly has…issues. She doesn’t do well with, um, most things. Of all the myriad offenders of Elly’s sense of well-being, it may be that loud, sudden noises are what she fears most. So she wouldn’t want, for example, a number of small explosions to pepper the skies above our house for a prolonged period. What I’m trying to say is, Elly does not enjoy fireworks. (For what it’s worth, she’s got good company in that sentiment.)

“Of course she doesn’t like fireworks,” I can hear you saying, “She’s a dog.” First off, thanks for being such an insensitive bastard. And secondly, it’s worse than you think. This is no, ‘she’s hiding behind the toilet and shaking for the duration of the fireworks show’ situation. This post is going up on July 3rd. We are in Day 12 of Elly’s annual firework-induced panic attack. The actual Fourth of July hasn’t even happened yet. And we’re already twelve miserable days deep. God, I hate this holiday.

When the first firework of the year detonates (which was good and early this year), the meltdown begins. Stage One: Elly gets a little jumpier than usual. She might get spooked if a cabinet closes too loudly or a door slams somewhere in the neighborhood. This typically lasts for a couple of days. In Stage Two, after a few more explosions, she’ll begin a boycott of…the night. No more going out to go to the bathroom after dark, no being alone in the house after sunset. She’ll follow Caitlin and I around until we go to bed and then, as she’s not allowed into our bedroom due to allergy issues, she’ll camp out just outside the door – leaning on it so that, if we open it, she tumbles in – waiting for her chance to jump directly onto our bed and rub her dander deeply into the sheets. Finally, we come to Stage Three: The Panting. At this point, Elly is conditioned to the fireworks except, you know, not in the good way. When we get to Stage Three she’ll just start that nervous panting that dogs do.

This face.
You know, like this.

She’ll start as soon as the sun gets beneath the horizon. And she’ll do it until about 5am. For days. This cannot be good for her heart. Meanwhile, Stages One and Two continue in an amplified fashion. Once it’s bedtime, she’ll scratch or howl at our bedroom door until one of us agrees to sleep on the couch with her, only she’ll be panting so hard that nobody can sleep. It’s loads of fun.

Luckily for us (sarcasm alert!), this year Elly managed to escalate all the way to Stage Three by last Tuesday. Which, if you’re keeping track, would be June 24th. It’s been a long haul. Nothing against America, but I’m very ready for the Fourth to be over. I need some sleep.

Look, Dad. I can sleep while I pant!
“Look, Dad. I can pant while I sleep so I never have to stop!”

2 thoughts on “The Panic of July

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