At 0433 I am awakened by a cold nose and heavy breathing. Since Zephyr, our mixed breed herding dog, is in his teens, he’s normally more than willing to sleep until my internal clock rings around five AM. 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, enter the sun room, and move to the door for his escape to the back yard.

That’s when I hear it. The sound of heavy rain. Although Zephyr loves to jump into rivers, creeks, and ponds on the trail, and our waterfall at home, he doesn’t like to get wet in the rain. I stare at Zephyr trying to figure out what the problem is. The crash of thunder makes everything clear. Zephyr hates thunder.

Knowing I won’t be able to go back to sleep, I move to the only couch the dogs are allowed on. 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, with the thunder still raging, 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.