Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thunder Anyone?

You know that crate that Brutus hates so much? Well today he couldn't get there fast enough. We woke up to rain and thunderstorms, and Brutus is definitely not a fan. There was one big boom, and he was off the bed and gone before I could say "good morning". I thought he probably had to go to the bathroom, so I went tearing after him down the stairs, but he was in his crate. Keep in mind that the last time he goes to the bathroom at night is around 9:30, and he usually gets up around 8:00 in the morning to go outside. Today he held it until almost 11:00. That can't be good for him.

If you have read any prior posts, you'll remember that Brutus is not a fan of his crate. I have gone so far to say that it was probably used as a form of punishment. He will cry and fuss and howl, and basically run away if he even thinks he is headed that way. So, finding him tucked way in the back of his crate came as quite a surprise to me. It also got me thinking about a couple of things.

First, it was actually a good thing. It means that he feels safe within the confinement of his crate. We always leave the door open, so it's good to know that if he's uncomfortable, that's where he will go. We still have all of the spring and summer storms, as well as the fourth of July to get through, so I'm guessing there will be a few more visits.

Second, what in the heck has happened to this dog in his short life? We had to quit the first dog class we went to because a construction worker used a nail gun, and Brutus completely shut down. No matter what we did, he remembered the parking lot, the building and the instructor, and would shut down before the class would start even when the construction was over. Thank goodness we have found Libby!! She has been such a good teacher and confidence builder for both Brutus and myself as a dog owner. Where was she when I was trying to raise my children! Anyway, I regress. When something like this happens, like the thunder sending him into his crate, I just have to wonder. Did someone buy him as a pup with the intention of him being a hunting dog, which is very common for labs, and he failed? Was he in a situation where he was abused, or shot at?

My childhood dog Oscar had been shot and was laying in a ditch dying when my dad found him. He was always afraid of thunderstorms, and that was the only time my mom would let him in the house. He was only allowed to come in the entryway of the house, but I would grab my blanket and sleep with him to keep him calm. My heart broke for him then, and I was no older than four or five, so my curiosity and compassion for animals started at a very young age. Oscar was the best dog ever. He did everything with me, and I loved him like a very best friend. He went to his grave with all of my secrets whispered lovingly in his ear. He never told a soul. :)

So anyway, every now and then during the day today, Brutus would come out of his crate and come to me for reassurance, or to eat a little food or to go out to go potty, but for the most part, he wasn't a very happy boy today. To add insult to injury, he walks out through a screened in porch to the yard, and the rain on the top deck sounds like little B.B.s coming down. He didn't like that either.

Hopefully with love and trust, he will come around. If not, we will do our best to make him feel safe. Let's hope for a sunny day tomorrow.

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