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Thursday, August 09, 2012


This sweet-faced pup is Lenny. Lenny Brisco (Think: 'Law and Order') Bruce (Think: 'Profanity') Conroy Kaeton.

He's a dear, sweet little man. Not very bright, poor lad. We don't say that in his presence. We usually just explain to people that he 'takes the short bus to school'.

Mr. Theo is, of course, Mr. Wonderful. He's made a great adjustment from his former life in Cambridge (via a foster home in Western MA where he went to life after having been rescued from a 'hoarding situation' with 40 other dogs and no human contact for most of the first year of his life) to life as the Harbor Master of Llangollen on the marshes of Rehoboth Bay in Lower, Slower, Delaware.

Now, their sister, Ms. CoCo Chanel, is the "Upper East Side Bitch". Smart as a whip. Adores her brothers.  Owns the house and every living creature in it. Well, we let her think she does and if you knew her, you would not try to dissuade her of that position either. 

She spends hours - no, literally hours - grooming her brothers. She cleans their eyes and licks their faces. Theo doesn't tolerate it too well, but Lenny - oh, sweet, patient Lenny - will sit there and let her put her paw on him to hold him still while she washes the crusts that sometimes develop in his eyes.

She was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and she has good days and bad days. Mostly, it's fair days and good days but bad nights. That's when she'll have seizures. She gets confused and growls and then whimpers because she doesn't know where she is. It's heartbreaking, but she seems not to be in any pain, is eating well and not incontinent. 

We take it one day at a time and are grateful for the time we have with her.

Lenny is a fairly mellow kinda guy, until there's a storm coming. As soon as the dark clouds start rolling in, he starts to pant.  When the thunder begins to roll, he plants himself next to me - usually ON my feet. In fact, that's where he is right now as I type this. 

I can't move. Seriously. Can't. Move. He's a little guy but he's pretty solid. He gets heavy.

If lightening begins to crack, then he starts shaking. He wants me to hold him, but he doesn't. What he really wants is for me to make the thunder and lightening go away. Far, far away.

Mr. Theo and Ms. CoCo are just fine. Well, Ms. CoCo growls and barks at the thunder. As I said, she thinks she owns the place so if something is bothering her brother, she wants it to go away.

Thunder. The ultimate intruder.  Growl, bark, bark, grow.

Thunder and lightening storms have a cathartic effect on Lenny. Which is to say, he always poops. Most often, on the kitchen floor. He's at least considerate in that way. He has been known to poop in my lap, if he's made it there and I've been foolish enough to let him stay as I watch his anxiety grow. 

The funny thing is that, as scared as he is, if I opened the door right now, he'd head right straight into it.  The storm, that is. That's happened more than once. Open the door and out he slips, running aimlessly up the street, scared half out of his mind, having previously given new meaning to being "scared shitless".

I've never quite understood that. I mean, he's scared to death of thunder and lightening and yet, if given half the chance, he'll run right into it. 

I have a friend, a psychologist, who says that it's a guy thing. He says that Lenny sounds like every guy he's ever played football with. In fact, he invited Lenny over to his house the other night to play Poker and smoke cigars.

I don't get it. It doesn't make any sense to me. If there's a perception of danger, I'm heading for cover, not running right smack-dab into it.

Or I might, like Ms. CoCo, yell at it to try and get it - whatever it is - to go away.  Mr. Theo is pretty non-plussed about it, but, given what he's probably been through in his life, what's a little thunder and lightening, right?

Then again, I know people - smart people - who do just that. They sense impending danger and they run right into it. Not to get away from it, but to make sure no one is going to get hurt, or, if they are hurt, to tend to them.

Firefighters, police and soldiers are like that, aren't they? Football players? Probably, along with hockey players and, for all I know, downhill skiers.

I don't think Lenny's actions could be chalked up to altruism. I think he's just scared. And, just a tad neurotic, poor baby.  He can't help it. It's a family trait.

I'm not sure if it's cowardice, neurosis, stupidity or bravery that drives us into a perception of danger and right smack-dab into our anxieties or fears - or if running away from them is the reverse of any truth about that.

I only know this much to be true: None of us is totally in control of everything in our lives. Storms come and storms go. Whether we run from them or run right into them, there will be other storms we'll have to deal with.

Lenny may just have it right: When you're scared shitless, get comfort and solace where you can, and when all else fails, run right straight into it. 

It just might get you an invitation to play poker and smoke cigars with the big boys.


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Poor ol' Lenny. It's tough to be a dog afraid of storms. But some of the bravest things I ever did, I ran right in, so I get that...

JCF said...

Aw, Poor Lenny!

And poor CoCo! I'm so sorry about her tumor and seizures (I'm very close to a dog named Coco Chanel myself)

Good dog, Theo.

May all your pack prosper, Elizabeth.

RevRita said...

Our little Maltese, Prince, is the same way. However, unlike Lenny he has never pooped! Nor has he run out into the storm. He just sits in my arms and shakes. Or, he wants up, then he wants down, then he wants up, then he wants down, etc. When he gets to that stage of agitation our vet recommends a teaspoon of pediatric benadryl. Works like a charm. Calms him down. TBTG.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - I get it, too

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, JCF

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Rita - I've tried rescue medicine. Doesn't touch him. I'm going to get some pedi Benadryl tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Did you try melatonin? It helps them sleep and eases anxiety. I use 3 mg for my 40 pound 16 year old dog that is getting dementia.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

For Lenny, it would need to be liquid or "melt away" tabs. I'll check. Thanks, Maria

Paul Powers said...

For what it's worth, we have found that putting a t shirt on our very high-strung border collie works wonders during a thunderstorm.

Lis Jacobs said...

Oh, how I love Lenny!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear unknown, Lenny would love to know who you are. Next time, please leave your name so he can lick your face.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Paul. - I think there's something called "thunder shirts" which does much the same thing. Except "thunder shirts" are a lot more expensive. Thanks for the tip