1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
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3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Hoot (the Brigantine Owl Scare-Gull) Says, “Rain, Rain, Go Away”

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 28, 2012 · 10 comments

Hoot, the Scaregull, Scowling at the Menacing Sky on Our Deck in Brigantine

I awoke to some rumbles of thunder this morning down tha’ shore in Brigantine, New Jersey.  There was a trembling dog on my bed.  Poor Dino (the dog) developed a thunder phobia last summer at age six. Fortunately, the major storms went north and south, so Dino got himself back together and eventually the sun came out enough for my walk on the beach.

Hoot, the Scaregull, Scowling at the Menacing Sky on Our Deck in Brigantine

Hoot, the Scaregull, Scowling at the Menacing Sky on Our Deck in Brigantine

While the sky was threatening, I took this photo of Hoot, one of the plastic “scaregulls” who inhabits our deck (porch).  The theory is that seagulls are afraid of owls so that if they see something that looks like an owl, they will find somewhere else to fly and — how can I say this delicately —  poop.  Judging by the amount of seagull poop on our deck, I can only think that Hoot (my secret name for him  — or her) works about as well as the “Thunder Shirt” for which I spent $40 to try to alleviate Dino’s thunder anxiety.

Any other Boomeresque reader ideas for canine thunder anxiety—other than medication—unless the medication is for me?     (Scroll down to comment). 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Marks August 28, 2012 at 3:10 am

OK. So I’m the person who suggested the Thundershirt. I’m a sucker for non-medication soothes. So now that it didn’t hit the spot with Dino, this is some research I did. It seems that hiding in the bathroom is a suggestion and playing music, the tv or running a fan (similar to white noise) might help. Dino is getting away from the noise that bothers him and has created a “shelter” where he feels safe. Smart dog! Check out the website that posted the suggestions:


Just One Boomer August 28, 2012 at 3:26 am

Thanks! He does seem to try to find a “den”–under or in something, but he still shakes and cries (but, it’s a special cry that he only does when it thunders). It reminds me of when our older son had “night terrors” when he was a toddler. He would be disconsolate, but you couldn’t get through to him until the trance was broken. We can’t comfort Dino during a thunderstorm which is heartbreaking (um,that might be a tad hyperbolic, but you know what I mean). That’s why I think I need the medication!


Robin Marks August 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

See what your vet says. What does he think about the melatonin? I’d call Penn’s Vet Clinic or Dr. Geffen, the vet who speaks on Sunday mornings on CBS3 news about animal health and problems. His office is located in Northeast Philadelphia. If you haven’t listened to him, I highly recommend watching. I used to take my cat to his office. She hated vets but not him!


roz warren August 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

my childhood dog used to hide under the steinway during bad storms. nothing ever helped.


Just One Boomer August 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm

At first read, I thought you wrote “stairway”. The steinway makes sense too. They really seem to want to be somewhere that approximates a den. I suppose it’s like what humans do when they seek shelter under a tree during an electrical storm–sometimes with disastrous consequences.


L Sorensen-Jolink August 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Our dachshund Bob, who is fearless in all other circumstances, has the same reaction as Dino to thunder (and firecrackers). He tries to escape the sound by finding a “den,” i.e., an enclosed, dark space with no windows, but he remains terrified until long after the sounds have abated. Trying to drown out the sounds with other noise doesn’t work, as he senses the sound vibrations. In fact, we have tried every reasonable remedy suggested by trustworthy authority. Finally, after three veterinarians advised that we try the same low-dose of an oral sedative that we used to help Bob sleep through transcontinental air travel (in the aircraft cabin) when he was a young dog, we did that. He slept through the noise and, upon awakening the next morning, was his normal happy self.


Just One Boomer August 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Dino recovers fairly quickly once the thunder stops, so I’m holding off on the meds for now. I read somewhere that a lot of times, the meds don’t kick in after the storm is over and then you’ve got a dog who is too relaxed (if there is such a thing after a thunderstorm.) I agree that trying to drown out the sounds doesn’t work very well. Unfortunately, what he really wants is for me to stay with him in his “den”, but sometimes I just can’t sit in the bathroom for that long. He still shakes even when I stay with him. At our house in Brigantine, his “den” is under our bed headboard, so that works out for all concerned.


L Sorensen-Jolink August 29, 2012 at 1:34 am

We have it a bit easier, because we rarely have thunderstorms. The only time we’ve used the medication was just before dark on this July 4, when there were public fireworks displays and we knew the noise would continue for several hours. I’m glad that your joining Dino in his den helps. You’re a good dog mama!!


bermtopia August 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm

At the ripe old age of 11, Ben, our Australian shepherd mix, has taken to locking himself in the bathroom when there is weather he disapproves of. Upstairs, downstairs makes no difference.


Just One Boomer August 29, 2012 at 2:39 am

I checked out your blog. Love your dog stories.


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