Those of you that tweet with me on Twitter know that my dog, Isabella, is a neurotic mess and deathly afraid of thunder, lightening, and even light rain showers. She must sense the pressure dropping because she'll start freaking when a storm is still hours away. She's also afraid of wind, strangers, garbage cans sitting by the curb, farts, fart sounds, fireworks and any loud noise. There are many more things she fears, but that gives you an idea. As a puppy she was afraid of the dark and shadows. You could not get her to go into a dark room, let alone go walking after dark. For some unknown reason, one day her fear of the dark and shadows disappeared.
Unfortunately, her other fears have stuck with her. When people notice her usual fears and strange behavior, they ask me what's wrong with her and if she's been abused. I try to explain to them that she has a free floating anxiety disorder, has never been abused and I have no idea why she is the way she is. Or if I'm in a mood I say "The bitch just isn't wired right".
We've tried all the desensitizing techniques but nothing has worked. Once she goes into her panic mode, it's impossible to get her to focus on anything other than her over whelming fear. I can't even get her to look at a ribeye steak when she's freaked out, let alone coax her with treats past a strange car parked in the street. Her fear of storms has gotten so bad the vet put her on xanax, and it really helps but doesn't relieve all the anxiety. Without the xanax she shakes so bad she can't even sit up and drools large puddles. With the xanax her shaking is much less and she doesn't drool, but she lays in a certain spot in a hallway against a wall while staring at the opposing wall. And she does love her xanax! When she senses a storm coming she paces and sits in front of where her meds are kept. I keep warning her not to like her meds too much or I'd have to send her to rehab with Amy Winehouse, Charlie Sheen, and Rush Limbaugh.
Last night she suddenly developed a new fear. When I took her out for her last potty walk about 2 a.m. I saw that a heavy fog had enveloped everything. As we walked out of the house and Issy saw the fog, her tail went down and she started backing up. Never mind that she's seen, been fine with and even walked in fog many times before. She's suddenly terrified of fog, for some reason that only she understands. I had to drag her out into the yard long enough for her to pee, and then she quickly bolted for the door to get back inside the house.
Once back inside she wanted nothing to do with her usually relished late night treat. Nope- she went right to her special spot in the hallway and struck her anxious pose. She wouldn't even come to bed with me when I finally gave up trying to distract her. And there she stayed until I got up this morning, took her outside and she saw that the fog was gone. Suddenly all was right again in Bellaland ... but there's fog predicted again for late tonight.