At 0433 a cold nose and heavy breathing wake me up. Since Zephyr, our mixed breed herding dog, is in his mid teens, he’s usually more than willing to sleep until my internal alarm clock rings around five a.m. Not today, apparently. Thinking he wants out because he doesn’t feel well, I’m now wide-awake and ready for action. I leap out of bed, navigate the bedroom furniture, skirt the living room, and enter the sunroom, moving to hold open the door for his escape to the back yard.

That’s when I hear the heavy rain pounding against the house. Although Zephyr loves to jump into rivers, creeks, and ponds for a little fun, he doesn’t like to get wet in the rain, but he’s not afraid of the rain. I stare at Zephyr as if my stare will determine the actual problem. The crash of thunder provides the answer to this puzzle. Zephyr hates thunder.

Knowing I won’t be able to go back to sleep, I move to the only couch the dogs are allowed to use. As soon as I sit down, Zephyr jumps up and lays his head in my lap so I can scratch his belly and his ears. After a few seconds, while the thunderstorm rages, Zephyr calms down and falls asleep.

I sit with Zephyr until the storm passes. Seventy-five pounds of furry home protection, as long as there are no thunderstorms.

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