I've mentioned in the past that our terrier, Rosie, is having some stress problems. We put the last bout down to the death of the last cat but her symptoms have returned with a vengeance.
We've got her on some mild tranquillisers because she's been very nervous for the last few weeks. We've been very patient with her, rewarding her for good behaviour and just generally being affectionate towards her. However, yesterday things took a downward turn. My father leaves for work at 7:15. Twenty minutes after he left she started charging at the dining room door in fear. I called down to her which usually works but not this time - the insomniac was forced out of her bed and spent Tuesday in something of a daze.
Last night I spent half an hour downstairs with her after my father went to bed. When I came upstairs she started banging at the door almost immediately. I left it for a few minutes to see if she calmed of her own accord, but she didn't and - worse than that - she woke my father up. Now that is a cardinal sin in this house. I rushed downstairs, he came out of his room swearing and threatening. I politely told him to buzz off and settled downstairs for a little longer despite my fatigue. I've had to do this once before, on an occasion where I had work the next morning and didn't settle down till after three.
I sat and watched a film I'd recorded weeks ago - To Be Or Not To Be, an 1942 comedy/drama starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny. It was probably a better film than I gave it credit for in the early hours of the morning but at the time I was going through the motions of sitting there and offering comfort to the dog. After almost two hours of sitting with her, I got up and switched the television off. Without a word, I left the dining room with just one slight alteration to the way I'd left it before - I decided to leave the light on for her. Now, I don't know if it made her feel safer or if she spent the entire night expecting me to appear at any moment. Still, she didn't kick off again.
I fell into bed close to two o'clock. However, I was completely on edge. I was listening out for the slightest noise because I knew I'd have to get there before my father if she started charging again. I estimate I fell to sleep between half-past three and four o'clock. Then I woke up when my father got up at half-past six. I couldn't get back to sleep while he was pottering about but hoped I would be able to once he had left for work. No such luck! He'd barely been gone five minutes before she went mental again.
I'm ashamed to admit I screamed at her. I was running on two hours sleep and, while I can cope with delaying rest, I can't usually cope with being woken from it or it being interrupted. I went downstairs in a zombie state, turned the television (Radio 4) and light on for her and left the room again. Must've worked. Not a sound till my alarm went off at half-past ten. Now, I don't know how much sleep I actually got in that time. It was probably only another hour to add to my two and a bit. I still feel like someone hit me with a golf club.
My big worry stems from the fact that tomorrow I'm heading off to London. That means I need a decent night's sleep because the travel is going to be stressful enough for me as it is. So I'm spending Thursday night in London. That leaves my petrified dog with my angry father and that's something I'm not happy about. When I get back from London I'm literally here for an hour before I flit off to Derby for the weekend. That leaves a total of four nights for the dog without me to sit up with her and try to calm her down. Not sure what I'll come back to. I know it's not her fault and, to be fair, so does my father. But his fuse is so damn short, especially when he's tired, that I'm anticipating a difficult couple of days.
As if I hadn't enough to worry about!