Stephanie Burgis
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So, we've known for a while that Maya is absolutely terrified of fireworks. What we found out last night is that she feels the same (or worse?) about thunderstorms. We were lying in bed at about 10pm, planning to read for about 15 minutes or so and then go to sleep because we were both exhausted. Suddenly Maya leapt straight up into the air and started running back and forth across the room, her eyes manically wide, her tail tucked quivering between her legs, and her whole body shivering - and it was only then that we noticed the thunderstorm had begun outside. Maya was so panicked, she couldn't think or even listen to us when we tried to calm her. She ran straight across our heads at several points in her rush to get somewhere safe...but there was nowhere that felt safe to her as thunder rumbled outside and flashes of lightning illuminated the room. She kept trying to run to us for protection, but it wasn't enough for her to be cuddled between us - she had to keep moving. Finally, the storm ended at 11:30. We breathed huge (and tired) sighs of relief, sent her back to her own bed, and fell asleep...

...Until 1am, when she leapt off her bed and began an even more panicked race around dangerous territory, as a new and even worse thunderstorm began. That one lasted for hours. About two hours into the storm, we finally managed to get her calm enough (with the light on so she couldn't see the lightning, and Queen blasting "Bohemian Rhapsody" over the stereo) that she was willing to settle down against me. Patrick & I managed to fall asleep for a couple of hours after that with the lights on, the music playing, and Maya lay quietly shivering in my arms. We woke up again around 5:30, with the storm over and birds chirping loudly outside. Maya was still shivering with leftover fear.

Poor Patrick is the really unlucky one - he had to be up at 7:30, no matter what, to go to work this morning. He took Maya out of the room with him when he got up, so I managed to fall asleep again until 9. But my brain feels like boiled mush today. Day 4 of the write-a-thon, I'm sorry to say, is not going quite so smoothly as the first three days... and Maya is still asleep in her bed on the kitchen floor behind me as I type this. It's a bright, sunny day outside, now...very Camelot ("it only rains at night..."), unfortunately. I would have given a lot for the storm to happen during the day instead of the nighttime.

I really, really hope we don't have too many more thunderstorms this summer. We have to figure out some better way of dealing with them, for Maya's sake as well as ours. We've never had a dog with this kind of thunderstorm panic before...does anyone have any ideas for how we could work on this?

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