On Saturday, without getting into too much detail let's just say I had a loud episode. I guess it's just one of the ways my depression expresses itself. Something tiny and annoying becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back (to use a horribly overused metaphor—please accept my apologies) and the energy has to go somewhere. About the healthiest thing I do during one of these is to scream bloody murder into a pillow or blanket, which is what happened.
Well, Kaline got completely terrified by this. I'm fairly certain it's not the first time this has happened since I got him 6+ months ago, but it's the first time he reacted like this. When I had collected myself, Kaline had run to the top of the stairs and was lying there unhappily. Whenever I'd get him down into the family room (where I'd had the episode), he'd walk around in a crouch, not want me to touch him, and not want to come away from his corner where he used to have timeouts for inappropriate barking. He wouldn't take treats from me. He wouldn't do any of his little tasks that usually get him pumped up.
I was totally heartbroken seeing him like that. I was convinced I'd wrecked our bond forever, even though the whole thing was about me being mad at myself, not at him. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends, especially Sonja. She assured me he'd live, just ignore him till he got over it—and then even made me videos so I could see the kind of loudness to practice with him in order to desensitize him.
An hour or so after the episode, Kaline seemed a bit more normal. When I asked him and Juno if they wanted to go out, they both ran briskly downstairs to get their jackets and leashes put on. He was great on the walk, and then when we got home, he and I had a lovely, gleeful roughhousing session, with Juno egging Kaline on whenever he flagged. I was very relieved to see he was fine.
We tried working on loudness Sunday—while the Republicans were repeating “The problem is spending cuts” like broken records on the morning news programs. Perfect, I thought. Oh shit, thought Kaline. He was fine when I was loud with a deep(ish) voice, but when I made my voice a bit high, suddenly he got that look back on his face—huge scared eyes, ears flat back, etc. He came out of it so much faster, because when I saw the scared face, I immediately switched gears and we played Up-Down, did touch, did high five/other hand, and then opened the fridge and various cupboards. We finished up with a snuggle and all was well.
Loudness desensitization: another daily exercise to add to our list. Soon it'll be just as ho-hum as the "naughty bad dog" exercises that Sonja and I do with Kaline and Chief, where we pretend to be drunk or rude people being nasty to the dogs.