the art of mindbending

the life of zooey who happens to be Bipolar 2

jim morrison and my dog

There are rumbles in the distance. Happening on and off since before dawn, rain is developing over the prairie. Thunder, JS43837457lightning, rain…all a part of the Fall season. You’d think our cats would scamper under beds and into closets. Nope. They don’t care.

Rolf didn’t start out this way. He came to us as a shelter dog about 8 years ago, oblivious to the storms.  At that time, our dog Kiwi, a cairn terrier, was with us. She was afraid of any rain. Thunder in the distance, rain drumming on the roof would send her into inconsolable shaking. 140511-0002Here fear was palpable. At that time we didn’t know about thunder shirts, so we opened her crate door and she went in to ride it out. But from this, Rolf learned.

Kiwi didn’t start out scared of storms as a puppy. We were at my parent’s house at the lake when she picked it up. My parents had a dog name Max who was famous for storm fear. He liked to ride out storms behind the toilet tank in the bathroom.  From this, Kiwi learned.

My working theory, based on family dogs, is they are picking up this fear from dad. My dad has always been high-tuned on storms. I remember when an F4 tornado skipped around, wreaking havoc in my home town. At the time he was at the golf course and the siren sent them to the clubhouse. He and his friends stood watch the tornado take out our local TV station, KVFD, and move on to take out a slew of houses and businesses.  Since that time, he’s kicked up armchair storm watching a notch. Since then….his dogs have picked up on this anxiety and started hiding behind commodes. Below are some actual pictures from that tornado.

Generations of canines. Generations of learning has brought Rolf to this day. His tail hangs down as he paces, watching the skies through our windows. He then lays right next to me so I can pet him in comfort. He moves under my legs as I prop them on the footstool. The pattern repeats.
We watch and learn a lot in our lives. From infants and on, others teach is what to do or what not to do. And in turn, we teach others. Most of the time it’s a good thing, but sometimes it isn’t.  Picking your nose and eating it?  Probably self-learned (but not always, lol).  Fear of spiders? Could be passed down or self-learned.  Hating people for being a certain race, religion or gender? Learned from others.

These are some examples. There are millions of combinations which make each of us who we are. There are some habits and views I need to work to change. I imagine you have them as well.  Life is a series of review and revision.  We work on identifying behaviors and patterns of thinking and either learning to deal, jail-breaking out of them or getting a thunder shirt.

Let the rain roll off your back,


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This entry was posted on September 18, 2015 by in family, learned behavior, perspective and tagged , , , , , , , .
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