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Anxiety attacks

Agriculture.com Staff 05/04/2006 @ 9:59am

My wife's dog is having anxiety attacks.

Shut up. It's not funny.

Okay, I can see that certain people might see some aspects of the dog's anxiety attacks as humorous, but I'm telling you, I don't see it.

Here's the deal. Cricket and I do not have a particularly strong relationship. We've worked out a deal -- she doesn't bite me and I don't kick her to Paraguay. It's not much, but it works for us.

This week, even that relationship has been strained. My wife had a two-day conference in the Twin Cities, so that means me and the dog have been roomies.

And it hasn't gone well. I did everything on the list -- let her out in the evening, gave her two tablespoons of canned dog food for a bedtime snack -- the whole deal. I didn't make little kissy sounds, but I had the clear understanding those were optional.

Cricket usually sleeps on the floor under my wife's side of the bed. I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard little paws scrabbling on the edge of the mattress. I turned on the light and she was staring up at me, panting and eyes wide. When I touched her head I could feel her vibrating, and her pulse was about 185. I was feeling like a sensitive guy, so I patted her on the head and told her to go to sleep.

It didn't work.

The panting got louder and I could feel her little eyes boring into my head, even in the dark.

I didn't know what the deal was, but I looked over at the empty side of the bed and realized that it was clearly my problem.

She clawed at the bed again, wanting up.

I didn't let her.

I'll skip over some of the next couple hours; suffice it to say I tried everything I could think of to calm the dog down. I roamed all over the house, trying to figure out the problem. You gotta remember, I grew up with Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. Maybe there was a fire or gas leak or alien invasion the dog wanted me to know about.

She followed me everywhere I went, a foot behind my heels, the same nervous grin on her face. When we went downstairs, she relaxed a bit, but there are no actual beds downstairs. I tried sleeping on the couch with my legs hanging over the end from the shins on down -- not actually as comfortable as it sounds.

Now, if Big Foot was hiding in my attic and Cricket was just trying to warn me, I'll offer a huge apology, but by then I was getting really fed up. I was in bed in the first place because I was sleepy. Three hours of tending a nervous dog wasn't changing any of that. I finally gave up and pushed a cedar chest over so she could climb up on the bed. My train of thought was that she would settle down and go to sleep at the foot of the bed.

Didn't happen. Cricket paced in a rectangle and then flopped down right next to my head, still vibrating and panting. You know how a three-year-old has bad dreams and climbs into bed with you? It was like that, except with doggy breath and wood ticks.

I didn't know what to do. My wife would be home in two days, expecting to see her dog, so doggycide was not an option.

I'm not completely sure what resolved the issue. Somewhere around 4:00 a.m., one or both of us gave up in exhaustion and relative peace settled over the house.

My wife called about 7:00 a.m., just as she was headed out the door to her meeting. I must have sounded a little fuzzy because, with surprise in her voice she asked, "Are you still sleeping?"

"Not anymore," I said.

Copyright 2006 Brent Olson
www.independentlyspeaking.com

My wife's dog is having anxiety attacks.

Shut up. It's not funny.

Okay, I can see that certain people might see some aspects of the dog's anxiety attacks as humorous, but I'm telling you, I don't see it.

Here's the deal. Cricket and I do not have a particularly strong relationship. We've worked out a deal -- she doesn't bite me and I don't kick her to Paraguay. It's not much, but it works for us.

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