The “Puppy” Side

Rusty can sense storms long before they arrive. As brave and he is, he turns into a puppy and shakes like a leaf when it rains.
Rusty can sense storms long before they arrive. That’s why he runs to the window to face his enemy, but then starts shaking.

Last week was the hottest week of my life. Not because I ran to an exotic island with my husband, but because literally it was the hottest week in Jacksonville in many years. I have lived in this city since 2007 and never before had I seen my car’s temperature reader reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit –plus 10 degrees of heat index —  in the middle of June. The heat, and worse, the humidity, were so bad that even the swimming pool at out community turned into hot soup. Instead of cooling it was boiling. How I wished I was a cold-blooded reptile! 

Because of the high temperatures our front and back yard has patches of brownish-dead grass, despite the new sprinkler system installed a month ago, and the hundreds of water dollars “spilled” on it every week. Particularly in Florida, the yard is the place that you want to keep nice for your house’s appearance–or have to keep nice to avoid penalties from the home owners association. Therefore, due to the importance of the grass and because I am cheap–the water bill makes me furious–I prayed to God for heavy and long rain.

Suddenly, my prayer was answered, but as much as we needed the storm, I couldn’t help but think about my poor dogs, Rusty especially. It was Sunday night and we went to bed about midnight after watching Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and Penny Dreadful cable TV shows. I walked the pups to their crates, closed the blinds of the office where they sleep, and said good night to them. Around two in the morning, the terrifying lightning lit up the windows of our bedroom like special effects in a horror movie. Immediately after, the thunders crashed somewhere on earth making the most disturbing sounds; it was like the sky was breaking and the falling pieces were going to pierce the roof of our house.

My husband and I sat on the bed and we both could hear the whining coming from the office. As in many storms before, we found Rusty’s big plastic crate shaking violently from side to side like a boat on the ocean. You would think that Sasha would be the one in panic, but actually she looked at Rusty like saying “Knock it off you sissy, it’s just rain!”.

Don’t get me wrong, she shakes as well, but nothing compared to Rusty’s reaction. When we opened his door he ran all over the house like a tornado, and once he stopped, his breathing and heart beat were so fast that we thought he was going to pass out.

Trying to alleviate their tremors, we gave both doggies a pill of Benadryl wrapped in a piece of bread, and then we took them in the laundry–this space has no windows and the low ceiling minimized the loud banging of the storm. However, once Rusty went into panic mode there was no turning back. He started scratching the door and whining even louder. All we could do was to bring them into our room and pass the storm together.

The lighting and the thunders continued for at least another hour, and the flashes of light that came through the windows seemed like a FBI helicopter was hovering outside our house looking for a fugitive. Two hours later, Rusty was still walking from room to room like a lost soul, as we could hear the sound of his little nails on the wood floor. Finally, he went into his little bed on the floor and fell asleep next to Sasha.

Thinking about Rusty’s “night of terror”, this lesson came to mind. Many of us have fears and phobias to fight in life. No matter how strong and composed one looks in the outside, we all have a “puppy side” inside. Even though he pumps his chest out like a pure German Shepard instead of a mutt (Shiba-Inu/Terrrier), when a storm arrives, even before the first thunder he starts shaking like a leaf. I wish I had the “dog sense” to smell the rain before it arrives so I could prepare for the storms in my life. The problem is that my nickname would be “Whiskers”.

Rusty didn’t want to stay in the laundry and hide; he wanted to face his fear because he knew that the people who loved him would be around him, comforting him. I believe that’s the key to successfully overcome some challenges in life; relying on our loved ones and opening up our heart and our secret fears.

Weakness can be a very powerful skill at times of desperation. When we accept our limitations and the fact that we can’t do everything alone, the road clears in front of our eyes and we find our destination. But when we make ourselves believe that we are above everything and everybody, the heavy armor of pride can asphyxiate us.

There is nothing wrong with having a weak side. Look at Rusty, he showed his “puppy” side and it gave him the right to sleep in our bedroom.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora.

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One Reply to “The “Puppy” Side”

  1. Love the picture of Rusty at the window, with flag! You have such a gift to paint a clear picture with words. The “moral of the story” was touched my heart. God bless…

    Liked by 1 person

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