Gimme shelter

Mouse Dog does NOT like thunderstorms.

He’d strongly resent my saying so, but he shakes and paces and pants and drools, his heart races and he’s up and down while the flashing and banging is going on. Afterwards, he likes to pretend nothing has happened, and where’s my meaty treat?

His favourite storm shelter is in our shower cubicle. The bathroom is a small room, central in the house. It has no external window any more, ever since some previous owner built the large extension (now my sewing room) on the back of the house, but it has a sun tube for daylight. It feels… snug, despite being full of cool, hard surfaces. Perhaps it’s this very centralness and lack of windows that appeals to him, but at the first sign of atmospherics, he’s in there, slinking into the shower and lying down, curled up into a sort of angular furry bagel. Not desperately convenient if you happen to want a shower, but I can’t see us evicting him when he’s so scared.

I’ve tried putting down his blankies and towels and so on in there, but the ceramic tray remains unfailingly hard on his poor bony limbs. I have therefore constructed a custom Doggo Storm Bed™ for him, designed to fit the space exactly, and backed with some of that tacky mesh you put in drawers to stop stuff sliding about, so no matter how much he scrabbles about in there trying to get comfy, it’ll stay put.

My friend Lyn gave me a large piece of this wonderful doggy print drill fabric, from which she made a bag she has also given to me (which is why I needed to patch in some fabric on one missing corner). It’s padded with several layers of the thick spill-kit felt batting I’ve mentioned before, which the Husband rescued from being dumped at work. It’s backed with small black & white gingham and bound with large red and white gingham, both scraps. I was not especially precious about either the quilting (minimal) or the binding (workmanlike). Mouse isn’t critical that way. Now His Lordship can be comfy while he’s taking shelter from the storm, whilst at the same time ensuring that his style standards are maintained… One less thing to irritate his already wobbly nerves, poor sausage.

Sorry about both the gloomy lighting and blurry photos. I’m rather wobbly myself at the moment, having no good feet to stand on while I take photos, and being rather distracted by the prospect of MRI results tomorrow morning.

I leave you with an ear-worm which has been running though my head during the entire construction process. And the lyrics that set it off?

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Ooh yeah I’m gonna fade away…

51 thoughts on “Gimme shelter

  1. A nerve wracking time – wishing you well for tomorrow. Take care. Sending hugs across the miles. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s interesting, but the torn ligaments and crutches have helped to distract me from the impending appointment. It’s such a dratted bother to get around and get things done on crutches that I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what’s ahead. Mouse, of course, is delighted that I’m home and stuck in one place for long stretches 🙂

  2. qldmaggie says:

    thanks for the lovely doggy story. My daughter has Meg, who is scared of the stormy weather. Her “place” is on my lounge with me, hiding under a blanket…… The only time she is allowed on the lounge. Why does she come to me, you may ask??????? I live down the back in a granny flat. We think her reasoning is that I am generally sitting on the lounge, whilst my daughter is more likely to be “doing something” like vacuuming, mopping, tidying up etc. Dogs are smart.

    • katechiconi says:

      Mouse is odd in that he becomes less clingy during storms rather than more. He doesn’t want to held or petted, he’s not interested in treats, so it can be hard to comfort him. He’s never interested in the bathroom EXCEPT during our very violent tropical thunderstorms. Also, it starts to disturb him long before we can hear or see it. Poor boy. Anything I can do to ease that….

  3. claire93 says:

    awww so pleased to see Mouse has a safe (and now comfortable) place to hide in during a storm. We’ve had two dogs totally petrified of storms & fireworks (Briard and Irish Wolfhound) then 2 dogs not bothered by either (Labrador X and our current Flat Coated Retreiver). I’m therefore assuming loud-noise tolerance is down to genes.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think you’re right; Mouse’s greyhound friend Lotti isn’t nearly as bothered as he is by storms. I wonder if it’s pressure sensitivity, or extra good hearing… He starts to get agitated well before we can hear anything, so I’m inclined to put it down to pressure.

  4. It’s amazing how animals know where they will find comfort. His bed will keep him warm and safe . I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow (not that I don’t think of you all the time 🤩). All my hugs and good vibes coming your way & I’m glad you have been distracted by trying to stay upright that you have not had too much time to think about your results …. I will be calling you later in the day tomorrow xxx

    • katechiconi says:

      I put it in there and showed him. He gave it a sniff, looked at me as if to say “what’s that all about, then?” and strolled off to the kitchen to find something to eat. I’ve put it away till the next storm.
      Appointment’s at 9.15 our time…

  5. Lots of hugs and good wishes for tomorrow. Mouse is very lucky to have such a loving Mum who makes him comfy even when he is scared and hiding.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you for the hugs, much appreciated! Poor Mouse is such a bony boy, I hate the sound of his knees and elbows crashing around in there. Being well-upholstered myself, it pains me to think how uncomfortable he must be.

  6. kymlucas says:

    Poor Mouse! And poor you, still hobbling around. Wishing less stormy days ahead for both of you.

  7. craftycreeky says:

    Poor mouse, at least he’s comfortable now, we used to have one dog who was terrified of anything that went bang (ironically a gamekeepers pup!) and another who would go outside to sit and watch fireworks!! Hope everything goes OK tomorrow x

  8. Dayphoto says:

    Sending you lots of hugs and best wishes for tomorrow. Lucky Mouse…you really came up with a nifty idea.

  9. Tami Von Zalez says:

    Love the dog print fabric!

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh bless him, he’s lucky he came to live with you. Good luck for tomorrow.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thanks, Cathy. Mouse feels he has the Staff he deserves… Now that I’ve made it, of course, we won’t have any more thunderstorms till next storm season. It’s like carrying an umbrella on a sunny day…

  11. I hope the MRI yielded positive results, Kate. They’re no fun, but amazingly effective at revealing what we need to know.

    It is so dear of you to make Mouse a special bed, customized and comfy for the spot he craves when he’s scared. I love the fabric and the clever trim.

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t have long to wait now for the results, and then I’ll know one way or the other. I’ve been able to suppress the idea quite successfully, but I know today’s quite pivotal. As for Mouse, I haven’t told him I nearly hung onto the fabric for myself because it’s so cute, but the fact that it was the perfect size for the space really told me it was meant for him!

  12. Bear says:

    Such a dear Mum you are to make Mouse such a wonderful spot for his insecurities. I was worried this week about how Leah might react to her first storms. She did pretty well. She did come to Moma for a bit of cuddle (I wanted a catnip treat! ~ Leah), but otherwise didn’t care what was happening outside the window. A blessing as our last kitty was terrified and would tremble an hide.

    • katechiconi says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how differently animals react to storms and other loud bangs. He’s also completely unfazed by loud machinery, engine noises, etc. Still, we’re never going to cure the fear, we can only make him more comfortable while he endures it.

  13. Well done!!! Mouse knows how much you love him. I always feel sorry for dogs during thunderstorms. I don’t mind thunder but terrified of lightning so I have a great deal of empathy. My last sweet dog was scared of thunder too so we would cuddle and that helped. We get very few thunder storms or lightning where I live now. It’s the middle of your night now but I’m thinking of you until you know something definitive.

    • katechiconi says:

      If he got cuddly when scared, it would be easier, but it’s almost as if he’s a bit oblivious to us. He’ll stand for being wrapped up in his Thunder Shirt and having his back rubbed, but he needs to be free to pace, lie down, jump up, pace some more, etc. Poor boy.
      Results in 3 hours. I’ll let people know when I get back.

  14. That all works great unless you need a shower! No, really, very kind and loving of you to make a soft, safe place for him.

    • katechiconi says:

      We could probably take a bath in all the extra drool… He has a No. 2 spot in the corner of the bedroom by the linen cupboard, so there’s a default in case of inconvenient Staff showering, but it’s not as good because not as enclosed.

  15. Sharon says:

    perfect bedding for those stormy days and nights…your such a good fur baby mommy!

  16. Marty K says:

    Poor Kate! Poor Mouse! Sending good vibes for your MRI and for a quick healing of your paws.

    The dog fabric is adorable — so sorry that it has to be used for a terrified Mousie. 💗

    • katechiconi says:

      After 2+ weeks on crutches, I’m ready for a change, but I have at least another week to go. The broken foot is less painful every day, the torn ligament foot is taking its time. But we’re getting there. I’m pleased with the Mouse bed – it’s not my neatest bit of work, but so long as it does its job and Mouse is comfortable, I’m content.

  17. tialys says:

    We haven’t had a thunderstorm here yet but Stan, and to a lesser extent Flo, are not fans of thunder either. We have had some very loud, gusty windy weather but that doesn’t seem to have bothered them. I did buy a thunder vest for Stan but it’s a job getting him in it once the thunder is under way. Poor Mouse has chosen his ‘safe place’ and now you’ve made it more comfy for him.
    All the very best for your MRI scan. xxx

    • katechiconi says:

      Luckily Mouse isn’t a wriggler and seems to appreciate the benefits of a Thunder Shirt. The minute he leaps up and starts displaying storm behaviour it goes on and we start padding the shower. I have the mat rolled up beside the shirt for convenience. He’s always completely zorsted afterwards and flakes out for a very extended snooze. Thanks for the good wishes, results in 3 hours. Not that I’m counting, or anything…

  18. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Oh Mouse you have such a good mum !! One of my dogs is afraid of thunderstorms too, it is a comfort for him to put the radio on then. But our thunderstorms are nothing compared to yours I think.

    • katechiconi says:

      No, our thunderstorms can be very heavy, very loud, very spectacular, and the season in which they happen is quite long. Mouse and I are both looking forward to winter and quieter weather and longer walks (once I’m off the crutches).

  19. Clever Mouse to figure out the best storm shelter, good to know just in case. The mat looks great, and he’ll appreciate the thought behind its functionality soon enough, I imagine. We also have have quiet enough of Weather. Thinking of you this morning. Take care ♡

  20. anne54 says:

    You may well have the results by the time I write this. I do hope that the news was good, and that you can get rid of the dratted crutches. I am sorry for poor Mouse in a thunderstorm. It must be so distressing for all of you.

    • katechiconi says:

      I do worry for him, his poor heart is thundering away and he’s so distressed. Anything to relieve the anxiety. The MRI isn’t actually for the ankle…

  21. I’m replying to this after having read Blue Skies, so I need only comment on the wonderful shower bed you have made for Mouse. It’s perfect! I hope your storms are few and far between, for Mouse’s sake xxx

    • katechiconi says:

      Mouse agrees wholeheartedly about the storms, but says the wonderfulness of the best is still to be tested, although he agrees it looks good, especially the portraits of Him on the fabric…

  22. magpiesue says:

    His Lordship doesn’t realize what a great home he landed in. I had an English Setter when our children were little who reacted similarly to the regular thunderstorms in Texas. He would climb into the bathtub in the smallest bathroom in the house and quiver and shake until the storm had passed. Poor fella. The kids were happy to let him have the tub!

  23. I want to sew you a storm blankie, Kate…

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