I have to admit, I associate Monsoon seasons with Asia—remember Karate Kid II—Daniel-son dashes through drowning deluge to save the love of his life— do I remember this right? Anyway, monsoon rain like that can’t happen in Utah where the annual rainfall is eighteen and a half inches and where miles of the state is home to cactus and Joshua Tree sand gardens, right? Yet it happens, surprisingly, every year from July through September. Why haven’t I realized this before? I’ve lived here my whole life!
As a kid, I remember hiding as branches of blue streaked across the dark summer sky. I’d dive under blankets as thunder boomed overhead—I was told once that it was just God bowling strikes. I often wished he’d take up golf.
In my memory, there were summer storms now and then, when heat rose from the sidewalks one minute, and fat drops of cold rain polka-dotted them the next. However, I don’t recall this happening every single summer. Even now, I’m surprised by it. You would think with how much I fear thunder and lightning, I’d remember each and every summer storm of my youth.
My fear comes from hating loud noises. To me, popping balloons, cars backfiring, firecracker explosions all resemble close-call gunfire. Whenever, there’s a threat of blasting sounds, my heart races, my ears get hot, and I can’t breathe–I don’t know why perhaps I was a soldier in a former life? Maybe I was a roman candle or a cannon, who knows? I was in my mid-thirties before I could sit on a blanket with my family and watch fireworks on the fourth of July, sans panic attacks. I’m not alone.
Enter, Zoey, my neurotic dog. If I’m a little on edge when black clouds loom on the horizon, my Chiweenie is practically epileptic to the vibrations of thunder’s approach. Last night was no different.
Whenever a storms-a-comin’, Zoey will sit up, ears pricked, snout lifted, waiting for impending doom. She looks happy—kind of—almost ecstatic, only her eyes show fear. Shakes riddle her body and wedge her mouth wide open. She hyperventilates and tries climbing inside the closest person’s skin.
We have tried everything to console her—thunder-shirts, making beds behind clothes in the closet, holding her tightly, giving her melatonin laced dog treats, and yes, even Benadryl—and don’t lecture me on the evils of giving human medicines to a dog until you’ve experienced a clawing, gasping, convulsing canine, whose body temperature has risen to a thousand degrees Fahrenheit at three o’clock in the morning, for the second night in a row!
Recently, my daughter Lorrin discovered a neat trick—Zoey, the Spanish speaking, anti-rubbing Chiweenie, who sometimes howls along to Violent Femmes—is calmed by the musical, Mama Mia!
Yep. The crazy bitch actually stops reverberating, and her mouth closes, as she watches Meryl Streep and Remington Steele croon and tango across the blue and white backdrop of the Greek Isles. Huh?
When LoLo first told me about successfully calming Zoey via movie music, I was skeptical. It was probably a fluke. Dogs don’t like zany ABBA tunes, do they? But apparently, some do.
Last night, the phenomenon was proven. Zoey, having ingested the elusive pink Benadryl, and for ten minutes, clawed, wheezed, and wandered between Bry and me, finally paused once I put on the movie, Mama Mia.
At first, nothing happened during the dialogue or the first two songs, so I fast-forwarded to a section I knew had a large block of ditties and choreography. Zoey, head still raised and panting, started watching the action on screen, her panic seemingly growing intermittent.
By the time the cast sang Voulez-Vous, her shaking had stopped, even as lightning flashed outside my bedroom window. Neither Brian nor I dared to move worried that any outside movement might bring her out of her tuneful trance and back into puppy panic.
We were stunned by the attention our dog paid to the television across the room. From what I could tell, Zoey appreciated Meryl Steep’s singing talent, but admired Pierce Brosnan’s striking physical appeal—don’t we all?
After a while, Lorrin, noticing the storm outside and supposing that Zoey was in the midst of a nervous breakdown, knocked on my bedroom door. Zoey leaped into her arms—her human shield and fellow Mama Mia enthusiast was there to save her life.
According to LoLo, Zoey was asleep within minutes of entering my daughter’s bedroom—sublevel, single window, and with a bed covered in a mountain of plush blankets—I mean, who would blame her?
As for me, after Zoey was gone I laid awake in bed for another hour, but it wasn’t due to the continuous thunder or lightning ripping the sky open, it was the anticipation of Streep and Brosnan on a pulsing blue screen falling in love!