Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The LONG Weekend

I love Independence Day!! For its American history, patriotism, unity in spite of political beliefs. We start up our barbecues, attend colossal fireworks shows, gather around close family. Plus, I just love the colors Red, White and Blue!! Every year, I vehemently anticipate Independence Day. Plan for it, even!! Every July 4th, I dress myself in as much Red, White and Blue as my imagination can conceive!! I go absolutely berserk!! For example, this year, I wore my "Star Spangled Bandanna", a Patriotic cross necklace, Red/White/Blue nail polish, (On every other finger/toe.... I looked like a teenager!!) hitter, baseball and pitcher Silly Bandz, (Red/White/Blue colored, of course!!) plus my new Old Glory/eagle T-shirt. What can I say? Independence Day is truly one of my favorite holidays!! But Rose has an entirely different opinion!! Every year people all around us attempt to "blow up the neighborhood".... Or so it seems!! They light highly expensive store-bought fireworks, invite friends over, build their own bottle rockets. Or "bombs", as I have called them!! Bottle rockets are my favorite kind of firework--minus the boom--because they explode in our nighttime sky. But, as seemingly everybody purchases or makes them, our cul-de-sac and beyond feels like a war-torn nation!! Honestly!! I am not exaggerating one bit!! Just ask Rose.... With the 4th of July landing on a Monday, people have launched both store-bought and home-built fireworks all weekend long.... So we swiftly learned how my mongrel reacts to them!! If I am walking her when one shoots off, she does an about-face. Literally turns us around and marches home. If we are inside, I become a virtual "refrigerator" with Rose as the magnet. She sometimes hides beneath our great room table, as well. If we are outside when one launches, same deal: An about-face toward the sliding glass door. Really? Does Rose not hear herself bay? Shouldn't that high-pitched howling hurt my Mongrel-Hound's ears? Apparently not!! Getting Rose to urinate before bed, however, was our greatest challenge!! (We temporarily nixed all evening walks.) I would link my girl's red leash to her collar, encourage with a "Let's go outside!!" and the battle begun!! I lead Rose toward our backdoor, then every muscle within her neck seemingly tensed up!! I would gently, yet firmly pull my stubborn canine toward outside, and she jerked back. With a harder force. She simply refused to go outside!! Once finally in the backyard, I repeatedly encouraged: "Go potty." Then our tug-of-war continued!! I lead Rose to her new favorite location, she yanked back!! Midway, my mongrel would sit, like the strong-willed three-year old she is, certain that a firework would pop at any second!! Poor thing!! Not that I blamed her!! Given the pattern of those things randomly being shot off, my baby's fret was actually quite valid!! Seriously!! It was a battle of wills. A battle constantly lost. There were tears on my behalf, feelings of defeat, emotion aplenty!! A long weekend.... Whenever we heard one and Rose seemed frightened, I sat with her. Spoke in an unnatural meek tone. Stroked her velvet-soft fur. Hummed any tune that entered my brain. This was Rose's first Independence Day with me. I wanted her to understand that I'm here, and I always will be. Finally, the main event. We initially hung out together in our great room. Then beneath the kitchen table. Uncle Michael and I sang to her. "America the Beautiful", "My Country 'tis of Thee", and "God Bless America". We played a CD entitled: "Patriotic Country". Sung to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA!". Word for word. Time passed. Dusk came. The fireworks grew more frequent!! And, in our cul-de-sac, from three different directions, bottle rockets exploded!! Rose about had it with those!! Too loud, too close, too intense!! Rose only suffers from twain noise phobias: Hiding and trembling. When the cul-de-sac "blew up", she was not shy in revealing this!! Rose shook, like I have never witnessed her shake before. I felt so helpless!! In our house there is no basement. Zero "escape" places. Or isn't there? Up my dog stood. Where is she going? I wondered. To the "Boy's Bathroom"!! I followed. Sat on our toilet seat. Touched Rose's fur. Instantaneously, as if by a miracle, her tremors stopped!! Wow.... I sat on the tile floor with her. Leaned against our sink. She is remarkably smart to seek shelter in this bathroom!! Although we could still hear the "bombs", their heart-stopping booms were surprisingly muffled!! I continued to sit with Rose, petting her soft paws. Until it was obvious that my mongrel's nerves were calmed!! I stood up and walked toward our living room window. Watched some gorgeous bottle rockets explode. Checked on Rose every second. She appeared fine!! A resilient one Rose is!! Then I sat with her again. She drifted off to sleep, even--while the fireworks kept going--something I could never do!! Rose's eyes closed, her hind legs began twitching.... A sound sleeper that girl!!

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