Oklahoma weather in May is highly unpredictable. May is tornado month, and we are in the alley here in Tulsa’s Green Country. Thunderstorms and more severe conditions can whip up in a pretty big hurry…so awareness and preparedness is key.  But this was early June, and generally the weather patterns change a bit. This day we were completely unprepared for what we found when we came home.

Dobie, our yellow lab/pittie mix, had come to live with us by way of a friend from work who had rescued him as a stray during one of the hottest days of the year. He arrived flea-ridden and exhausted, but she took him in, vetted and fostered him for several weeks while she posted and sought the owner. When no one came forward, she knew she had to make a decision as she couldn’t keep him and wanted him to have a great home, but didn’t want to take him to the shelter.  So he joined our family! But back to the story…

My husband and I own a small vending business and rental properties, so his work had a relatively flexible schedule and could be home often. I worked a corporate job that kept me outside the home 50-60 hours a week, so I was home early mornings, evenings and weekends only. But it was a good synergy, and it worked well – for awhile. We began struggling with Dobie’s bouts of separation anxiety, among other undesirable behaviors, which I may save for another post. Generally, the damage was limited to the 2″ blinds throughout the house, which we’d try to raise when we planned to be gone for more than a couple hours. And we were working though it with some behavioral modification practices. At any rate, this day, the blinds were up. But it wasn’t the blinds we should have been concerned about.

Remember what I mentioned above about Oklahoma weather?  We had a storm pattern that moved through mid-morning.  I received a call at work around 12PM from Tom. He said, “Mom?” (He calls me “Mom”) “Um…why did you lock Dobie in the bathroom?”  Shocked, I said, “I didn’t lock Dobie in the bathroom.” When I’d left for work that morning, he was sacked out on the couch; we’d been working to leave him in a calm state, so as not to get him worked up before we left.  I felt this sinking feeling…why was Dobie confined to the bathroom?  What happened…?! Tom was silent, then said, “I’ll send you some pictures.”

bathroom contents everywhere
Bathroom contents everywhere
dobie drywall and trim job
Dobie’s drywall and trim job

These are two of the pictures that Tom sent. Not the best quality, I know…but enough to see what had happened. Turns out, Dobie was okay…he didn’t hurt himself, but the bathroom was in a pretty sorry state! We assumed that he went into the bathroom looking for us. The door had a tendency to swing back on its own, and we suspect when he tried to nudge it open, he pushed it closed and it latched, and he was trapped. Then at 8:53AM, the storm rolled in…

What the photo doesn’t show is the big 6″x 4″ chunk chewed out of the vanity shelf on the side. Thankfully, he didn’t hurt himself on the splinters, exposed nails and glass – in the sheer force of his frenzy!  Things can be fixed and replaced…but best buddies cannot. I’m grateful it was all fixable.

While his separation anxiety has subsided, Dobie is still terrified of thunderstorms. And over the years it has worsened, so we have tried multiple remedies to no avail.  We will continue to post reflections like this, as well as some reviews for possible remedies you may consider trying for your dog.

He is like Frieda reincarnate; she was our first experience, and he is our current one. Sometimes I wonder if we weren’t destined to have multiple dogs who suffer with this affliction so that we can help others deal with it as well. Wait…why don’t we start a blog with a forum so people can share their stories?  Well, here we are!

Please share your comments below – or better yet – join our forum and share!



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