Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Friends - Thunder Shirts and Mattie

I wrote the blog below on Saturday because I am out of my office all week, but late Saturday night, Mattie passed away. The picture below is the last one I took of her.

Mattie was ancient for a foxhound and had touch-and-go moments, particularly over the past year or so. I awakened Saturday morning to her wheezing, and as the day wore on she could not get comfortable but began pacing; she couldn't sit and she couldn't lie down but popped right back up.

So we phoned the vet, whose office had closed, but she immediately dropped everything (God bless her!) and met us at the clinic. Mattie's heart had filled with fluid and her lungs were filling also, signs that her organs were failing and she was passing away naturally of old age. We made the humane decision to stop the pain for her, and helped her slip peacefully away...

Below is the blog I wrote before she passed...


It has rained every day for nearly three weeks straight. It hasn't been an all-day, slow, soaking rain but rather flashes of storms that terrify my two oldest dogs, Mattie the foxhound and Simone the collie. Thunder, in particular, can send both of them into sheer panic as they run from one room to the next, looking for a place where the barking sky can not get to them.

So when several friends recommended the Thunder Shirt, I knew I had to check it out. I bought a Large for Mattie (who is now 55 pounds) and an Extra-Large for Simone, who is 87 pounds.

The Thunder Shirt goes on extremely easy, which was key because if I can't get it on them during a storm, the shirt is useless. It velcros in place and fits snuggly around them. The theory, according to the box, is the gentle yet firm pressure is soothing to them.

At the first rumble of thunder, I slipped Mattie's Thunder Shirt on her. (shown at right) She immediately calmed down. But when the storm continued through the night, she began to stress again - though not quite as badly as she had before.

When I slipped the Thunder Shirt around Simone, it was trickier as she was hiding behind the couch in an effort to hide from the barking sky. She has also long fur and I was concerned about catching it in the velcro. However, the shirt seemed to have calmed her down, even though she seemed more confused by it than Mattie did.

I ended up also purchasing a Calming Collar for Mattie. The combination of the Thunder Shirt and Calming Collar is keeping her from hyperventilating, which is a huge improvement. The Calming Collar emits pheromones that remind the dog of being protected by her mother as a puppy. The Collar emits a chamomile and lavender scent which is quite pleasant.

Simone, so far, has only needed the Thunder Shirt.

They aren't cheap - between $39 and $49 each depending on the size and where they are purchased - but I'd say they were worth the price. The Calming Collar was $12 on sale at PetSmart and it also was worth the price.