California is a dry state. Dry in the sense that we don’t get loads of rain, we do plenty of drinking. There are a lot of parts of California so saying that it is just one thing is a bit of a generalization I know, and I am going to make the statement anyway. We just had the first real rainstorm that I can remember in at least a year, maybe more. Things have been getting progressively drier every year for the last three years, but I think before the last twelve months we had a couple of good storms. The problem was there were just a couple and we needed something more like a dozen. In the big picture, still not a lot of water, just the quantity we were accustomed to.
It has been dry for so long we forgot what it was like to have real rain, or anything more than a dampening drizzle for sure. The big dog, at only five and a half years old has lived most of her life in unnaturally dry conditions and apparently that was just fine with her. The dogs get walked almost everyday, but we are fortunate in that we also have a large yard where they can explore and play. Also where they can go potty. That’s what we call it in our house, “going potty.” So in the morning when it gets light and the skunking hour as safely passed (we hope and pray) we open the dog door and say, “potty time” and out the dogs go to do their business. When it rains there is a lot of mud in the yard so we have to modify the routine to factor for wiping off paws when they come back in, which means no free access and “potty time” is somewhat more defined. And sometimes that might mean that one has to go out in the rain to go potty, not wait until it is totally dry.
The rain was coming down steadily, a gray light filtered into the yard, everything looked fresh and green, washed clear of dust that had accumulated for years (literally years) and it was morning so the girls needed to go out and “go potty.” Which is what I cheerfully said and so they equally cheerfully ran over to the door to be let out. The older dog, the Eskie sniffed at the open door, did a little move that looked a lot like a shrug and then ventured forth. The big dog just stood at the door with her nose twitching. So I gave her a shove on her haunches, said, “go potty” and closed the door behind her. I figured that putting the dishes away would be approximately enough time to get her off the deck and going potty. I figured that if I ignored her long enough she would give up and just go. But for maybe five tortured minutes she stood by the door, tail between her legs, howling and crying. If you did not know otherwise you would have guessed that she was wounded. She did not go potty.
Later in the day, when the rain had slowed to a drizzle I again cheerfully said, “potty time,” and the Eskie did her shrug and came to the door. The big dog, who seconds before had been happily playing with a ball froze in place and then, like a cartoon character whose feet move faster than her body, ran shaking to hide in the office. Apparently, despite the fact that she has a thick fur coat the rain is like daggers falling from the sky and potty time is now reserved for torture.
This morning there was no rain. I hope, I pray, I wish that it will come back often this season. The big dog has not yet recovered from her trauma of being in the rain, she was very hesitant to go outside at all but was persuaded by a tennis ball. If that’s what it takes it’s fine by me – the rain is so wonderful, the sounds, the smell, the damp. I am happy to stand outside and throw a ball, maybe we all forgot a little how much we love the rain and we just need to do things that make us happy while standing in it!