It was a Friday afternoon, and I was sitting at the dining room table with Tess doling out her snack and texting with a friend about our plans that night. We were debating whether to carpool down to Westport or Uber together.
“My plan is to be home by midnight,” her text read.
“Same!” I typed back. “We were up all night with the dog.”
“Hahaha [some jovial laughter emojis]!” She thought I was kidding.
No, but really. We were up all night with Wally.
It’s spring. Which means thunderstorms. Which means Wally has to employ his most neurotic habits all night long. Hyperventilating. Whimpering. Pacing, Digging. Panting.
And the severity of the storms doesn’t matter.
It can be those gentle storms with low rumbling thunder in the distance and minimal rain. Or it can be the more violent kind. When the thunder claps and bangs feel like they’re inside your house, and the lightning tears jagged lines across the sky. Like God put His ceiling fan on the highest setting to see how many trees he can churn down, and everyone’s on edge waiting for the tornado sirens to summon them to the basements. And the rain’s coming down in buckets and flash flood warnings are interrupting our programs.
Or it could be drizzling.
Doesn’t matter. Wally will FREAK OUT. And in the middle of the day, who cares? He gets some extra pets and follows us around, his hot breath on the backs of our calves. We tell him to calm down and try not to make a big deal about the weather.
But in the middle of the niiiiiight…different story.
Once we found him frantically clawing up the rug on the landing to the second floor—that rug is destroyed. For a few months last fall, we ‘d find him in Tess’s room, scratching and clawing the foam play mat in the middle of the hardwood floor. If one of us heard him open her door, we’d hurry in, throwing on a bathrobe as we fished him out of there, careful not to wake her up. And since her door doesn’t properly latch, he’d do it again and again.
Other nights, he would wake her up. In fact, he’s pretty smart guy. I actually think he’s learned to shove the door open quietly, as though he doesn’t want Tighe or me to wake up. Scratching at that foam is the only thing that makes him feel better and he’s desperate to get in there. We’d find him clawing away like a meth addict, with Tess standing in her crib, half mad at being awake and half confused at why her beloved dog is in there.
Should she file a police report? Alert the neighborhood watch? [Of which she’s the president, by the way. See picture below.] Or take him to therapy?
And lately, he’s been seeking shelter with Nate and Sam. They don’t have a rug to shred, so he’s been climbing into the bottom bunk with Sam. But Wally’s a monstrous dog! As a babysitter recently proclaimed, “He’s just a big muppet!” He dwarfs Sam’s bed, making it look like a school for ants.