Saturday, July 5, 2014

Music to Soothe the Savage Beast

The 4th of July is not Ray's favorite holiday. Despite the fact that fireworks really do showcase Ray's vocal abilities, most of the noise he makes shows how displeased he is at all the racket being created outside. Of course, Ray doesn't seem to realize that running out into the backyard and yelling his head off actually adds to the din in the neighborhood.

This year, I did five minutes of research on dogs and fireworks to come up with ways to keep our dog comfortable (and quiet). I had remembered that when Ray and I used to go to the dogpark, before they added the blind dog obstacles, I often talked to people who swore by the use of the "Thundershirt" on their dogs during storms and other stressing events. The shirt uses "gentle pressure" to keep a dog calm. (If you've ever seen the movie Temple Grandin, it's the same idea as her squeeze box). I decided to try the concept of the Thundershirt on Ray, and then, if that didn't work, to try the other recommendation, using background noise to mask the commotion going on outside.

Now, how is this supposed to work?
So, when the fireworks started in earnest, I piled some pillows on top of Ray, who was curled up in his usual spot on the couch, and reclined on as much of him as I could without killing him with my weight. Although it squeezed a couple of farts out of one end of him, it did nothing to stop the emissions from the other. Since the TV was on and Plan B, the background noise, didn't seem to be working either, I switched to plan C. I went to bed.

"Let Ray come upstairs if he wants to," I said to my lovely husband who was now acting as the makeshift Thundershirt, "He can sleep with us tonight."
Gregg, understanding the need, agreed.

Five minutes later, Ray, who had heard and understood every single word, was stretched out full-length on the bed yelling at every boom. Thinking that maybe our downstairs background noise hadn't been backgroundy enough, I turned on the TV and tried to find something more suited to the occasion. After a quick search, I settled on the last fifteen minutes of Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming. It turned out to be just the thing. Ray quickly became fascinated by the plot and his yelling dwindled to an intermittent declaration of independence. I drifted off to sleep.

As soon as the movie was over, Ray started up again. I roused myself enough to find a channel with some nice rap music and Ray and I were lulled back to sleep by the soothing tones of Pitbull.


  1. Like your 2 men in a pic :)

  2. Hmmm...I'm not sure which would be worse - the howling or rap music! We're lucky in that none of the pack (that can hear) is concerned with loud noises.

    1. Well, I can sleep through the rap music. Not so much Ray's yelling.

  3. The expression on your husband's face is priceless! It's hilarious that you tried to create your own sawed off version of the Thunder Shirt!

    Who knew rap music would be helpful? I'm so glad that Blueberry suffers silently and doesn't bark at the fireworks. She usually just hides in the walk-in closet until the "storm" passes. I'm not sure what she would do if I tried to re-create your thunder shirt idea...I kinda wanna try it just to see if I get similar results. I'll let you know if she passes any gaseous emissions as well... ;)

    1. I just can't figure out if Ray is scared of the fireworks or if he is just pissed off at all the noise. He doesn't try to hide, he doesn't shake, he just feels the need to add to the din.
      Can't wait for the results of the sawed off shirt experiment!

  4. Do you think it's either? Scared or pissed off? Maybe he does just want to add his lovely baritone to the sounds.
    Love the pic!!

  5. Maybe that is all he wants to do. He doesn't SEEM scared although he does grumble like an old man whose sleep has been disturbed...