Comforting Rita

As of Monday night it’s been pretty much nonstop rain here.

Depending on how hard or how loud it rains, and whether the rain brings thunder and lightning as well, this can be very stressful for one of our dogs, Rita Mae. Since the day we brought Rita home, we noticed she reacted with fear to any kind of sudden, loud, or mysterious noise. And she absolutely hates the rain. When she sees or hears the rain outside, she begins trembling and very little we do calms her down or soothes her. We did purchase and use a thunder vest, which we do think helps a little bit, but certainly does not resolve the issue. She is basically inconsolable, trembling, sometimes crying, and constantly shifting and seeking the perfect hiding place where she’ll feel safe and comfortable, which usually involves her trying to burrow between or behind one of us. When this is happening in the morning, afternoon or early evening, it’s not such a big deal, other than our feeling sympathy for her, and wanting to make her feel safe from the rain. But when it happens at night, when we’re all trying to sleep, it can be very disruptive and a little frustrating. Our compassion for her, our love for her, and our concern for keeping her calm and making her feel safe certainly outweighs any agitation or frustration we feel at losing sleep, but it is disruptive nonetheless, and none of us feel rested after a long night of Rita agitation.

We can only speculate on why this happens, and what may have happened to her that has instilled such fear of inclement weather in her. We wonder if she was left outside during bad weather, or whether she lived in a home with lots of loud noises or violence or other disruptive things. She was two, after all, when we adopted her from the animal rescue organization that rescued her, so there’s no telling what she experienced her first two years of life. We keep this in mind when she begins one of her trembling and whining phases, and it only makes us more devoted to calming her and showing her that she’s safe.

It makes me sad to think that she thinks that anything can or will hurt her now that she is part of our home and family. But it makes me happy to know that, for the rest of her life, she will never know anything but warmth and love and protection and care. Even if, and when, we lose a little sleep along the way.

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5 Responses to Comforting Rita

  1. Urspo says:

    poor pooch
    I think for health’s sake you all should move to Phoenix where it rains maybe 14 days at most and when it does it is over and done with quickly.

  2. Mark in DE says:

    It is truly frustrating and heartbreaking to have a 4-legged family member in such distress but be able to do so little to relieve it. Good for you both for not losing patience with her when she disrupts your night’s sleep.

  3. She is lucky to have you now.
    Jean-Paul
    itsmyhusbandandme.wordpress.com

  4. Try a 55 pound Shepard mix who’s similar. We just have to love her and have for many years now.

  5. rita mae has a good home with you. my cats get a bit concerned with thunderstorms and fireworks, otherwise they are mellow girls.

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