Column - Shelter from the stormMy house has a panic room. It didn’t start out that way. No, no, it was just an ordinary bathroom near the family room.
By: Lori Mork, Alexandria Echo Press
My house has a panic room.
It didn’t start out that way. No, no, it was just an ordinary bathroom near the family room.
But now, thanks to my dog’s anxiety attacks and phobias, it has become a refuge from the scary world – at least for her.
For me, however, it is a little like a short-term prison sentence because my poor, aging doggie won’t hide alone. No indeedie, she needs company.
And not just any company will do – only her “mom.”
Tess is deathly afraid of thunder, gunshots and fireworks, not to mention being outdoors on her own. Nothing calms her down, and, believe me, we’ve tried just about everything, including valium and Prozac. Yep, anxiety medication for my pup.
She has always been a little nervous about those things, but her fears really escalated after Pooh, her “brother,” came to live with us.
At the first sign of lightning and thunder, the crazy dog would start barking; running up and down the roads, across the yards, down to the lake – anything to chase away the loud noise.
All that barking and commotion took its toll on Tess, and year after year, her panic increased to the point we’re at now – hiding behind the toilet in the bathroom.
That may not seem like a big deal, but Tess is nearly 100 pounds small, and that kind of girth doesn’t wedge into small spaces very well.
Why don’t I leave her to just deal with this on her own, you ask? Again – 100 pounds is the answer. That kind of size in a frantic dog doesn’t bode well for furniture, especially televisions. Doors don’t come out of that battle in very good shape, either.
We’ve tried putting her in a kennel, but that makes things worse. She howls and scratches until her feet bleed and our heads throb. Not worth it.
This summer has had more turbulent weather than we’ve seen in some time, and frankly, I’d sort of forgotten how dramatic all this could be.
The bathroom isn’t that large, so squeezing the two of us in there for a night of camping on the floor takes some work.
The first two middle-of-the-night treks down two floors saw me sleeping on the rug with a towel for a blanket. I know, I know. I’m crazy, but the poor dog is 11 years old. There’s not that many more years of this remaining, and, despite everything, I’m nuts about her.
I tried a camping cot, but the sounds it made when I moved were almost as bad as gunshots, snapping and popping. I gave that up.
I finally found out that if I pull the cushions off the couch, throw down a sheet and some pillows, and turn on a fan, it’s really not that bad. Really.
Then, if you add a CD player and some music, or maybe the laptop and a few DVDs, a glass of wine or two (or three), well, hey, I’ve been on camping trips worse that this. And I don’t have to fight any mosquitoes.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.