Last night I awoke to a vibrating bed, and it was not because I was in a cheap motel with a coin machine on the headboard. Loretta the Weather Dog was predicting impending storms. She usually begins shaking, then panting and finally drooling with the approach of storms. Sometimes the humans in the house can hear the thunder in the distance and sometimes we can detect no change at all, but she can; it must be a pressure thing. She is better then the local TV weather guys with all of their Storm Chaser-Super Triple Doppler-Get It To You First technology. Her behavior often procedes the weather alert scroll at the bottom of the television by a good 10 minutes. This ability is only one of her assets; she is also good looking, slender and she has a beautiful singing voice. After that, she has been the most trying dog we have ever owned, and certainly not the brighest crayon in the box, she may even be her own cousin. As it is said, God dosn't close a door without opening a window.
The day we got her we had not woken up saying "Let's get another dog today". We went to an unsuccessful school equipment auction out in Isle of Wight. On the way home we decided to stop by the animal shelter - just to look around. We were chatting with the attendant and told him of our penchant for hounds. As it was, he told us someone would be bringing in some pups momentarily. We saw the remaining three pups from a litter of Coon Hounds and fell in love with two of them right from the start, but they opened their mouths and began baying non-stop, singing their joy to be alive. Since we live in a fairly dense area, we picked the third, quiet pup - Loretta. Her quitness was just an act. She hasn't stopped barking in seven years. When we took her to the vet, we were told she had the "most impressive worm count" he had ever seen. She was near death from starvation, and it became clear to us that she was badly neglected and possibly abused. She is still in recovery, and we are still adjusting to her. When she was spayed, she nearly died from the anesthesia, we were told to try and "avoid" future surgeries, like they are optional. She managed to destroy a beaded leather pillow that actually survived a WWII concentration camp. Last year we spent close to $1200 on her ears alone. During Hurricane Isabel, we had to tranquilizer her so she wouldn't tremble herself into oblivion. Worst of all she has been know to dig holes in the garden. All of this for a spur of the moment dog. I can only hope that her constant barking has saved us from some unknown fate at the hands of a psychopath, and we just don't know it. Or perhaps her forcasting abilities may warn us of some future fast approaching tornado. Maybe later on I will write about the good dog Patsy.