As I scurried from room to room finishing up my evening chores, my husband remarked on a movie he was watching. A western, with an all star cast flashed across the television screen. I stopped to take notice. The main character was being held at gun point by several vigilantes. Another man held a knife to a dogs throat repeatedly threating to kill it despite the pleas of it’s owner. I gasped. ” I can’t watch this!” I cried. Tuesday our hound dog, nestled asleep in her kennel for the evening, sat up and cocked her head at the TV. The cries from the dog and no doubt my anxiety over watching it had woken her from a sound sleep. I quickly exited the room. As I finished the dishes in the kitchen, I could hear the faint happenings of the saga emanating from the bedroom. The dog had not only been stabbed, but apparently thrown off a cliff in front of it’s owner. I was immediately glad I had not seen this.
As I put my youngest son to bed my husband called upstairs frantically. Something was wrong with Tuesday! I rushed down stairs to find her hacking horribly. We helped her through the episode, looked for any obvious signs of obstruction and settled her back down for the night. However only moments later she repeated the episode. I pulled her from her kennel and checked her color and other vitals to find everything completely normal. Tuesday is one to carry rocks and sticks on the farm, so my thoughts turned to something she may have ingested. I palpated her stomach to find it supple and relaxed with no pain. Tuesday reached out with her long tongue and licked my face followed by a thumping of her tail. All seemed okay. She reentered her kennel and laid back down. I settled in next to my husband who was still watching the western, thankfully the traumatic scene’s now over. Thirty minutes passed. The dogs now blissfully asleep.
Out of the blue, Tuesday sat up and started choking. I jumped out of bed to assist her through it. I again checked her all over. This time I stopped to “ask” her what was wrong. She looked up at the TV. The “peanut gallery” aka as my husband, put his two cents in. ” You can’t “ask” her what’s wrong … stop … she’s not going to tell you!” Apparently I was dealing with one of his moments of skepticism. Tuesday stood shaking looking up at the television. I again asked her what was wrong. She told me she was worried about the dog. I immediately realized she was talking about the one that had suffered a horrible death in the movie. I tried to explain to her that it was “just pretend,” but pretend did not compute to her. She looked at me, then the TV, then to me again, whined and shook. I showed her the dog completely “fine,” but that too didn’t seem to make her feel better. Once again we settled her back into her kennel for the night, turned off the lights and went to sleep. However two hours later we were again woken by the same hacking and choking. Chris groggily got up, took her outside and laid awake with her for two hours with no further episodes. We left her outside of her kennel to roam the house as she pleased thinking this may “help.” However, this only reminded us why she is kenneled at night in the first place. Tuesday barks at EVERYTHING, all night long. Our next step was to invite our 65 pound dog to share the bed with us. This worked for a short period of time, but each time we dozed off to sleep she would repeat the choking episodes. More than once we considered taking her to the emergency hospital.
As I laid awake holding her, she continued to flash images of the dog in the movie. This HAD to be what was bothering her so much! I showed her images of dogs being trained to do stunts and tricks and reiterated that the dog on TV was “just pretend.” But Tuesday had picked up more than just the dog. She had picked up the anxiety behind the dog being killed. From my anxiety over watching it, the anxious cries of the dogs owner in the movie and the dog itself all played a role in the anxiety she had picked up. I knew what I needed to do in the morning and that was to check her for trapped emotions. And sure enough Tuesday had trapped “anxiety” in her stomach. I cleared this for her and she has been fine ever since.