Fido & Me — Dignity

“Oy vey, am I scared!”

“Fido,” I said, “what in the world is going on? You’re speaking Yiddish.”

“Oy vey, am I scared!”

“That’s what you said. What’s got your goat? What’s the matter?”

Fido inched closer to my chair, almost right on top of my feet. Then I heard it. Way off in the distance (to my ears, anyway): thunder.

“Oy vey,” Fido said. “Am I scared! And I’m speaking Doggish, not Yiddish. An offshoot.”

“There’s no reason to be frightened, you big, old, loveable lump. It’s thunder. Don’t you remember it from last summer? It’s a good thing. It means we might be in for some rain. And you know what that means. The dust will settle, and on top of that, your Field of Dreams might start sprouting organic dog biscuits sooner.”

I was trying to make him feel good about this, but he wasn’t having any, especially after raindrops began to fall.

“What’s that scent?” Fido demanded.

“It’s called petrichor. It happens when rain falls on pavement that hasn’t had rain for a while. Very distinctive. A lot of humans like it. There are actually petrichor colognes on the market.”

“Well, I’m a dog, it’s unfamiliar, and so I hate it,” Fido said.

“I used to have a dog named Max,” I said to Fido. “We were living in the Midwest then, and oy vey, did we have thunder! Max was a mutt, just like you, and he used to run around in circles, barking. When the storm front would pass through and things really got wild, Max would dive under the bed, and if that didn’t do it, he’d run into the clothes closet and bury himself under the pile of laundry.”

“I would never do that,” Fido said. “I have dignity. But if it’s not too much trouble, could you maybe open the closet door, just in case?”

The rain pounded the street, and bits of hail bounced on the deck.

“This,” Fido proclaimed, “is a day of total calamity.”


“First, Adam Scott loses the British Open by bogeying the last four holes, and there’s the whole Penn State thing, the Aurora thing, and now this! Oy vey, what’s happening?!?!?”

“I’m beginning to think that you like complaining,” I said. I moved his green-and-gold dog blanket close to my chair.

Right about then, a clap of thunder hit very close and a swath of lightning rippled across the sky. Fido sat on his haunches and put his head in my lap.

“It’s okay if you cry a little, Fido. I know dogs can sometimes get a little bit freaked out by loud noises, especially if they can’t be explained easily. Like thunder and lightning. But believe me, Old Man, this is a good thing. Honest.”

“I’m not going to cry. I have dignity! Hey hey hey hey!”

Soon the big action was over. Throughout the evening there were but mere hints of thunder, rolling away in the distance. Fido climbed into bed, and so did I.

Just as I opened my book, I looked over and he was dead asleep. The soundest sleep in the world. It did not last long, though.

“Oy,” Fido said, “was I scared!”