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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer storms are no fun for Cody the Wonderdog.

I love a summer storm. I’m not crazy about 50kph winds that rip the tin roof off the stable but I love a cracking thunderstorm with lightning and rain. Especially when I’m sitting on the sun porch, under the blanket on the love seat, with a cup of tea and a good book. The farm animals do not share my fondness for Mother Nature’s fireworks display.

The last time we had a storm, I watched with interest as the sheep led the way up from the pasture as the clouds opened and dropped torrents of rain on their fleece. They speed-walked as fast as they could up the field, their udders hobbling their steps and their little ones tripping along behind them. I could hear them complaining all the way up the pasture, “my wool is shrinking!”

The horse doesn’t mind the rain, but she sure moves at the first rumble of thunder. Then she makes thunder of her own, racing up the field with those big dinner-plate hooves tearing up the soil in her wake. I’m always afraid she is going to trip on a stone and break a leg and that will be the end of her. But you can’t get her to slow down when she’s spooked. Just stay the heck out of her way. 1800 pounds of scaredy cat at 50kph, kicking up sod.

The cows are usually safely tucked in the barn well before the storm. They seem to be very perceptive when bad weather is coming and they get in out of the way of it before the lightning strikes. The cats love to watch the storm, from a dry, safe place in the hay loft. They aren’t fond of getting wet either.

No one hates storms more than Cody the Wonderdog. Well before the wind and the rain, he starts fussin’ to be let into the house. He seems to know the difference between a regular rain and an electrical storm, long before the rest of us. Rain drives him into his doghouse. A thunderstorm drives him right up the wall.

If we aren’t home to let the dog into the house during the storm, he breaks off his leash and runs. He runs and runs until someone lets him in, somewhere. Saturday afternoon we got a call from the neighbours at the end of the road. “Are you missing a black dog?” This is the second time in a month that the dog has run away during a storm. I looked out the window and saw the broken lead hanging from the clothesline run. “Uh, yeah, I guess we are. Sorry; we’ll come and get him right away.” No worries, said the neighbour. The dog was having his nerves calmed with a juicy hamburger. Right.

The Farmer swears his dog was not nervous about storms before I arrived six years ago. He says Cody would just go in his doghouse and sleep through the storm. Apparently I taught him to freak out during a storm. Well that just doesn’t make much sense to me, because I’m not afraid of storms and the dog seems to react the same way whether I’m home or not. And I think a lot of dogs are afraid of thunderstorms. My sister’s dog, a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix named Mandy used to bust in the screen door when there was a storm, and hide under the nearest bed. In the years that she lived at my mother’s house, the dog must have busted the screen a total of six times. Dad would take the door off, bring it to Blair at Home Hardware for re-screening, and hang it up again. Next storm, same thing. Eventually the frame of the door was so bent you could barely get it open.

Mom would be at an event of some kind, hear thunder rumbling in the distance and announce, “I’ve got to go! I don’t want to lose another screen door!”

If our spring weather is any indication of the type of summer we’re going to get, I have a storm warning for my neighbours. I predict a forecast of wet dog with sad “feed me” eyes, dragging a broken chain behind him.


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