Lightning strikes panic

I am writing this in the midst of a heat wave. I am definitely not a California girl no matter how you look at it.

I am writing this in the midst of a heat wave.

I am definitely not a California girl no matter how you look at it. Or at me! Anything over 25 Celsius and I have about as much energy as a noodle. I know people from warmer climes feel sorry for northern dwellers, but I would far rather be snuggled up to a wood stove in February then stuck in the house with an air conditioner in July; that is if I had an air conditioner, which I don’t. Where’s the joy in summer if it’s too hot to even be outside?

The only one that’s happy about our unusually hot weather is our little dog. Cosmo loves the heat. On scorching days while the rest of the family is cowering in the shade, Cosmo is laying out on the deck under the full blaze of the sun happy as a beach girl.

When she isn’t out on the deck she is busy following sunspots around the house. She rotates around the house from east to west, starting the day off in our bathroom and ending it in the kitchen. She’s like a sundial with fur.

In the winter, after the sun has set or before it has risen, she curls up directly beneath the wood stove sometimes panting so fiercely I can’t stand it and yell at her to come out for fear she’s going to cook herself to death.

Cosmo is definitely not a Thunder Dog.

A couple weeks ago a storm rolled in around 4 a.m. and we heard Cosmo start pacing about the house. A few minutes later came the snapping sound of her doggy door indicating she had gone outside. Darcy and I looked at each other in surprise and a split second later came a tremendous crack of thunder.

“That ought to bring her back in,” Darcy said.

We waited but there was no telltale return snap of the doggy door and the scurrying of paws back inside.

I got up, threw on my housecoat and went to investigate. Cosmo was gone. This was particularly puzzling since her yard is fenced and there was no sign of any holes or places she could have escaped through. I could only guess that in her terror she had somehow managed to catapult herself over the rail and off the deck. Unfortunately, the reason her yard is fenced is that she is sadly lacking in homing instincts. We learned early on that letting her run loose was not a good idea.

For the next two days it poured rain, but instead of listening in delight to the long overdue drink the fields and gardens were finally receiving, I was slogging through the wet bush and up and down muddy roads calling Cosmo to no avail.

I finally put a missing dog poster on our group mailbox and hoped that either someone had picked her up and was giving her a good home or if she was still somewhere out in the forest that she would manage to find her way back.

If she didn’t come back I resolved to never get another pet. Unless you get an elephant or a parrot, you are probably going to outlive your animal companions.

Why put yourself through all that pain? Of course, by the same token, you might ask why fall in love, or get married or have children or friends.

You don’t realize what a big part of your life a pet has become until they’re gone. A hundred small routines were made empty by Cosmo’s absence. Opening the snap lid on the cheese container would bring her flying off the couch in hopes of caching in on a bit of mozzarella. Now there was only silence.

Then joy! On the evening of the third day a neighbour phoned to say our dog had showed up in his yard. As happy as I was to have her back, the feeling was not reciprocated.

Normally an affectionate lap dog, for the next two days Cosmo refused to come near me. Instead she sat in her sunspots glaring at me reproachfully. Clearly she felt I should have been able to reach down from above, pluck her up and save her from her muddy misery.

On the third day I gave her some mozzarella and all was forgiven. Hopefully it’s like the commercial says. If you don’t want them to leave home, give them cheese.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can visit her online at