Friday, July 7, 2017
Non-human animals are not human
Nona the Wonder Dog woke me up at 3 a.m. by jumping into bed with me.
This was decidedly odd for two reasons.
Firstly, she's an outside dog and doesn't usually like to be in the house. Usually.
Secondly, the front door was closed and locked, and the back door, which was open to admit the cool evening breeze, should have been inaccessible to her. The yard is fenced with six-foot chain link and the back door is outside of the fence.
But there she was, so odd or not, reality wasn't matching up to expectation.
Each of the reasons listed above came from the reason factory complete with caveats.
Firstly, Nona does seem to like to come in the house when she's frightened of something. In my experience, she's frightened of two things only, thunderstorms and fireworks. When lightning and thunder flash and crack -- and of late when the clouds are merely dark and the thunder is a distant grumble -- she wants to come in. Once inside, however, her anxiety doesn't seem to abate. I get the sense that she expects "inside" to be without bright flashes and loud bangs, but of course it's not. When "inside" turns out to be just as flashy and bangy, she turns to me as if expecting me to make it stop. If I'm standing or moving around she cowers against my legs, if I sit she tries to scramble into my lap. If I attempt to console her her anxiety just continues to grow with each flash and bang. If I gruffly make her "lay down" and "stay," and then sit down and read or otherwise relax, she slowly settles down and sometimes even goes to sleep. Her reaction to fireworks is essentially the same.
Secondly, Nona is a fit, vigorous, and highly athletic dog. A six-foot fence only keeps her in the yard when she lets it keep her in the yard.
She must have gone right over the fence and nosed her way in through the back screen door.
There was another puzzle last night. Well, early this morning.
The night was crystal clear with nary a hint of cloud. In fact, NOAA radar showed no reflectivity within 150 miles. So no lightning or thunder. And no fireworks, either. They've been banished from town until June 24, 2018.
So what the heck was she afraid of? For afraid she surely was, panting and shivering and shaking -- if you'll pardon the expression -- like a dog shittin' peach pits. Whining and cowering and seemingly beside herself with terror.
As long as I was checking the weather radar on my phone (man, is that cool or what?) I decided to check something else. Yesterday when the topic of the overnight Montana earthquake came up in comments to my blog post, Brig noted that animals will tell you when a quake is coming. So I checked my phone for news of an earthquake.
And there was one!
Located 6,969 miles to the southwest at Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands.
So that probably wasn't it.
Maybe Nona had a nightmare? Hell, I don't know.
Once she settled down she was happy to return to her doghouse outside. I closed the back door, just in case. I needn't have bothered. It wasn't like I was going to be able to go back to sleep, and by that time it was only 45 minutes to rise-'n-shine.
Anyway, something caused Nona to experience a very high level of anxiety last night. I don't know what it was, and it's useless to guess. She can't tell me what it was, and even if she could, I wouldn't understand, since I am not a dog...
And Nona, like all other non-human animals, is not human.
In other news...
Hot. Fence. Cattle. Pre-bread.