Where the Weather Suits His Clothes

dog owners may need medications prior to first donning

I only have a few minutes to dictate before there will be two voices  talking over the top of each other (she is out walking the dog—subject of this post, but I see them coming back around the pasture loop, so I have to hurry).

We got the Thundershirt in the mail yesterday, and not a day too soon, because we were expecting “thunderstorms mainly after midnight” and did not want to suffer through another non-native canine panic like the last one two days ago. or

The first issue, of course, is how to Velcro the thing on the dog. If you watch the video on the thunder shirt website ( see the link above), it looks really easy——until you notice that the demonstration uses a small-dog manikin——that does not move.

We, on the other hand have a large dog that spins in circles just beyond your reach, or lies down and will not stand up to be fitted for the first time with his new tuxedo.

But finally, we practiced a time or two, and figured out what goes where, and got the thing on the dog and left it on for 15 minutes, just to let him get used to it.  then, before bed several hours before the expected storms, we put the dog in his straitjacket.  the storms never came.

So while this first run was not really a thorough test since there was no thunder, the dog was much less restless last night than he has been since the thunderstorms returned, and we are hopeful.

And then, if it doesn’t work for the dog, were thinking maybe Ann would put it on before she goes to work, and see if it has any impact on her stress level. It will certainly give her coworkers something to talk about!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I’m going to let you report back to us on how this works before I consider buying one. Not sure they will have one to fit a 125 lb. dog but I thought it was worth looking at. Let us know how it works in a thunderstorm. Thanks!

  2. I started using a thundershirt with my Lab a couple of years ago, and it really has helped – to the point where she seems relieved to have it put on. The older she gets, the more storms, particularly ones with lots of cloud-to-ground lightening, bother her. The earlier you can get it on them, the better. Her “weather radar” usually lets me know well in advance of the storms arrival!

  3. I am sure that was a sight to see……… you , Ann and the dog, 🙂

    Now, I really know that Tsuga needs a good meaty bone.

    Not sure about Ann wearing that thundershirt………it may give her superpowers……..then, what would you do????? 🙂