On the road to nowhere


This has become impossible. Roo’s level of fear during thunderstorms — even if they’re 50 miles away — seems to get worse. I plonked down $100 for a bottle of CBD oil and tried that on her a few times at different doses. Last night I went to the max and it had no effect whatsoever. The same wild panic, panting and trembling all night, all of which she will only do either crammed behind me on the tiny dinette bench or, if I try to go to bed, burrowed under my pillow. There’s no moving out of her way, because she flails around in panic and burrows back under immediately wherever I am or it is. I’ve tried the Thundershirt, Rescue Remedy, trazadone, benadryl, you name it. Everything but lavender oil, and I’m not going to bother with that, because, really, this is not mild anxiety. Roo is just way too fearful and damaged. Supposedly there’s some $50 per dose med available, but her meds bill is already monumental, and what with there being say ten days a month of thunderstorms pretty much anywhere in the country during the spring or summer, it’s not a solution. 

Last night the storms weren’t even that bad, but she panted so hard for 13 hours straight that the camper was rocking, even though it’s up on stabilizer jacks. It rocked because the rhythm of her panting created an oscillating vibration. Beyond how awful it is watching Roo suffer so much, I hardly get any sleep as it is, but none at all a few times a week is a little more than even I can take. 

Fortunately, President Trump might be coming to the rescue, since the IRS informs me that I have to sell the 20-year-old truck (which got hail damage a week ago) and cash in the maybe $500 of equity in the camper to make a down payment on the unbelievable amount of taxes I owe. More than a third of the total of someone who makes 11 times as much pays. How that’s right, I don’t know. 

And yet Trump supporters whose own tax bills are up will tell you they still support him because even if taxes are up this year, it’s just because the tax cuts haven’t kicked in yet. Okay, then.

Then, after a night like that, Roo is depressed and exhausted all day. I really don’t know what to do any more. This whole misguided adventure was the worst mistake of my life (I mean taking off in the camper, which is turning out to be a death sentence). I thought it would be cheap and a good way to take care of Roo. When the Golden retriever rescue in Los Angeles turned her down and left her to be killed at the shelter, it was because they thought she could never recover from the worst case of fear they’d seen in 30 years and 12,000 dogs rescued. They could only pull two dogs that day, and so the hard choice was made to leave Roo behind. But, when Roo gets to spend part of the day being a dog, she does well. Outdoors she’s fine (as long as there’s no thunder or high wind). This method of trying to do that for her was doomed from the start, and now the doom is setting in. What Roo needed is some sort of soundproof refuge to crawl into, her own noise-proof cinderblock enclosure. So much of her life is pure hell. I didn’t realize how hard on her this would be. Instead, I focused on trying to make her life as full as I could, to relieve her of as much of her pain as I could, but I got it all wrong. Now, it’s an unrecoverable mess.

Those of you who read the Roo book so long ago probably don’t remember, but this was near the end, after adopting Roo and when we were leaving town:

It was September, and hot, and I couldn’t get out of Los Angeles fast enough. Trying to shortcut traffic, I cut through an alley. Roo was sitting up in the passenger seat looking around. She spotted a handsome pit bull with a homeless man in an abandoned parking lot. The man was on a pile of rags and newspapers wedged between dead weeds and a cinderblock wall. He was trying to get some sleep, but the sun was blistering and he was agitated and sick. The dog kept watch. He was a big pit bull, a gentle brown guy with soulful eyes. He lay under their cart with a paw on his man’s leg. He knew exactly what kind of shape the man was in. The dog looked like a million bucks, fit and bright-eyed and clean. The man might have been dying, but he wasn’t done putting his dog first.

When he saw us pull in, the man found the cardboard sign he used for fundraising at intersections. It read, “Here but for the Grace of God go you and your dog.” We had a couple of bags of duck jerky and a box of Milk Bones stocked up for the long drive ahead. I put them in his cart. When she saw me take one of her stuffed toys, Roo wasn’t too sure about that. After all, having things of her own was still new to her. The pit bull smiled and poked the mallard with his nose a couple of times, and when it honked, his tail thumped on the concrete. He put his ears back and gave me a big smile. 

The man had an old Scooby Doo head, the kind you pull over your whole head and see through a couple of holes in Scooby’s eyes, and he put that on to talk to me. He was a sweet, gentle man, a much better man than I’ll ever be. You could see it in his dog.

Please, do me a favor, and don’t post replies to this. I’m just venting, though really it’s just at myself for how badly I’ve failed.