Last night several lines of thunderstorms rolled through central Ohio. As the lightning flashed and the thunder clashed and rumbled, it sent Kasey to quivering. Penny is oblivious to outdoor storms, but they terrify Kasey and send her darting for the nearest human being to cower beside.
Why are thunderstorms so frightening to Kasey? We don’t know — but then there’s a lot we don’t know about Kasey. She’s only been part of our lives for less than three years. She’s a “rescue dog” of sorts and was retrieved from a Humane Society near Vermilion when she was already a fully grown dog. We don’t know how old she is, exactly, but the veterinarian, from looking at her teeth and other evidence, things she’s 11 or 12. That means she had about 9 years of life experiences before we entered the picture, and we don’t know what those life experiences were.
So, we try to draw inferences about Kasey’s secret past from what we know about her, now. When we got Kasey she wasn’t particularly well housebroken. She’s got bad teeth. She doesn’t like storms and loud noises. Initially, before encountering Penny, the bottomless pit, she wouldn’t eat all her food immediately when it was served. And, most distressingly, she was very skittish and suspicious around males, even growling at me a few times during the early days as I approached her.
What can we surmise from these very few pieces of a much larger puzzle? Not much, really, other than some pretty uninformed guesswork. Her teeth suggest that her past owner or owners didn’t take her to the vet very often. On the other hand, she must have been reasonably well fed — dogs that are starving aren’t going to leave available food to nosh on later. The incomplete house-training suggests that she lived with someone who started the job, but couldn’t completely pay attention to Kasey’s habits for some reason. Her fear of thunder and lightning and loud noises suggest that she may have been a doghouse dog for part of the time who was left outside during bad storms, or perhaps she lived in a place where loud noises meant something bad was happening. As for the skittishness around men, I’d rather not think about that — but the inference is obvious. Fortunately, she seems to have gotten over that.
So, we really don’t know much about Kasey’s past — but we like to think that she views living with us is a definite improvement, storms and all.