Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 14, 2010

She's Freaking Me Out

For the past few weeks now, Pepper has been acting very strangely. She's not sick because she's eating heartily and her poops are normal. She's bright eyed, cold nosed and lively when asking for treats or pets. For the most part, during the day she seems fine. But at night, she's starting to get frightened of something. She keeps going down to the end of the hall downstairs. If the doors to the den and/or back room are open, she will go into those back rooms and hunker down. If she is in the family room, she huddles up to my craft table area, which is where she parks herself if I'm making stuff and it's stormy, or there are fireworks during the summer.

The thing is, last year she was acting clingy and there was an earthquake in Humboldt County, California, like 600 miles away, but I felt it and it woke me up. I blogged about it. I know that animals are very sensitive to stuff like that. Pepper started acting like that again right after the earthquake in Chile, and she's been hinky since then. If she's out in the yard, it's hard to get her to come in. When she's in the house, she's trying to hide down the hall, or panting and shaking. She'll stand near us, kind of on alert, looking around. It hasn't even been raining or windy.

We can't figure out what could possibly be freaking her out. Our routines have not changed. Brian and I don't fight, so it's not like she's picking up vibes from us. I mean, this time last year we were WAY more stressed than this year, despite Brian still not having a job. If she was going to pick up on bad vibes from us, it would've been last summer. A few years ago, she literally tore the den apart, which was extremely out of character for her, when we had a TV on the floor in there, and a large box w/ an unassembled TV stand. She's always been very sensitive to any change in her surroundings. Once the TV & stand were gone, she was fine. So that's what we can't figure out: What could possibly be bothering her?

The one and only thing I keep coming back to is: Earthquake. Like I said, this behaviour started after the Chile quake. She was totally fine around the time of the Haitian quake in January, though. But since Chile, there have been large quakes in Southern California, Japan, Mexico and SE Asia. There have been countless aftershocks. Pepper was just starting to act normally again....or at least less-hinky....till last night.

She wouldn't come in the house from the yard. However, when Brian went out to the store she happily ran across the yard to go with him and Sagan. But when he got home, she refused to get out of his truck. She was huddled up in a ball in the center of the back seat. He had to haul her out, w/ me pushing her butt from the other side, lift her out of the truck and set her down. Once she was on the garage floor, she trotted right into the house, ran upstairs barking and jumping around like normal and asking for belly rubs, but then spent the evening hiding again. I woke up this morning, turned on the news and there was a 4.0 in Mexico and a 6.9 in China over night. Just now, as I write this, Brian had to bring her back in the house from the yard b/c she refused to obey his command to come in. Now she's back to hiding in the hallway. By the way, Pepper's behaviour is very puzzling to Sagan, who keeps going back and forth between us and her. He has not been clingy at all.

How in the world can she possibly sense seismic activity halfway across the world? I know that she's very, very sensitive, but we're talking THOUSANDS of miles! How can my goofy little mix breed Beandog be sensing quakes so far away? Is she feeling the earth shifting around the Pacific Rim? Are we going to be next on the Ring of Fire hit list? Is it going to be an earthquake or is Mt. Rainier waking up? She didn't seem at all phased back in 2005 when Mount St. Helens started percolating again. I don't recall her having any issues at all and there were several quakes & ash plumes down there, and we're only talking about 150 miles or so from our house; probably less as the crow flies.

Seismologists and geologists keep reassuring everyone that this Pacific Rim quake swarm is normal and the only reason we are hearing about it is that, recently, they've occurred in high population areas. Normally they occur deep in the ocean or remote areas so it doesn't make the news. I'm sure that's true; I haven't done any research on my own to analyze the statistics. I know they're the experts and they ought to know, but it really does seem to me like the severity and frequency of seismic activity has increased exponentially over the past 6 or so months.

My one main reason for blogging about this is in case we do have an earthquake. I want it documented that Pepper has been acting weird for quite some time and it's getting worse. To say I'm concerned is an understatement. Brian and I have discussed it at length and we can't find any medical reason for her frightened behaviour. She does act like this during storms and fireworks, but it has never, ever lasted this long or resulted in her hiding at the back of the house. Brian chalks it up to her always having been sensitive and the fact that she's about 9 now, so she's getting older. But she's in no pain, she eats normally and voids normally....she snuggles with me at night and runs around the yard chasing Sagan, like normal. But when she's in the house, at night, something is scaring her big time.

If anyone has any suggestions, or theories, I'm completely open to them, because she's really freaking me out.


  1. I wish I had some idea Jojo,but I don't.It is just scary and I'm just reading it!Is it worth a vet trip?What about sedating her (just mildly-with Benadryl) just to give her a break (and you guys too)?

  2. Jo, rushing to catch shuttle. Didn't get a chance to read post. But, I will when I get back home. Busted my hand, need x-ray. Chat later. Cheers!!

  3. Hmmmm... Well this certainly is a conundrum. Maybe she is a psychic pup! Or maybe she is extra sensitive....

    I usually get disgusted by the so called animal psychologists and etc... but it might be interesting to take her to some kind of dog whisperer who may actually be able to shed some light... or at least give you some entertaining info.

    Good luck. I hope you all stop freaking out soon.

  4. There's also a volcano currently doing it's thing in Iceland. Maybe Pepper is just overwhelmed by all the vibes she's picking up....

  5. Could Mt St Helen's be building up to something new? Or maybe it's the big supervolcano under Yellowstone park getting ready to blow. In which case, nice to have known you all...

  6. No idea what might be wrong with your dog but you never know. They are sensitive to things like that. I mean there are dogs who can tell when someone is going to have a seizure, etc.

    With all the seismic activity around the world, perhaps she is sensing something.

  7. she obviously knows something we don't know - but for her own sanity and well being i guess a mild sedative from the vet wouldn't hurt her - poor thing

  8. There's been a big fat volcanic eruption in Iceland. Closed airports from Scotland to Russia and most points in between. Could this explain it?

  9. Well there was a 4.9 in Utah/Wyoming last night....

  10. Has she settled down now that's happened?

  11. Brian says that she's been acting normally during the day, which she seems to do every day. It's just at night she starts to exhibit signs of fear.

  12. Ghosts? Have there been any deaths in your circle recently? If you can get into it, try smudging the house with sage, see if it helps. At worst, it just makes you feel silly and makes the house smell good. Seriously!

  13. Sounds like a case for the Dog Whisperer! ;)

  14. Panda, my thoughts exactly!
    I can't believe no one else has brought this up.

    Animals are very sensitive to other dimensions and frequencies.
    It could be an ill omen of something death related or it could simply be that she is picking up on some sort of entity in your house.
    Especially the fact that it escalates when it gets dark, which is when frequency disturbances are less (the world calms down) and supernatural things manifest easier.

    I'm not being silly.
    Trust me, animals are in tune to more than natural phenomena.....they are good warning devices against UN-natural things to.

  15. That's a facinating story, Jo. It must be pretty eerie at your house. I don't know much about the topic of seismology. I have to agree with White Rabbit, though. Maybe she has some psychic powers? Who do you talk with about that? It would be interesting to find out. Perhaps, she could be used to help humanity. Cheers!!

  16. I'm happy to note that Pepper has been acting normally again. She settled down after the 4.9 in Utah the other day.

    Let's hope I've seen the end of this behaviour b/c having been thru TWO - count 'em - TWO major quakes (6.9 in SF and 6.8 here) in the last 20 years, I was starting to have major PTSD.

  17. Wow, I don't even know what to say Jo. I have to thank my lucky damn stars that living here in NY, we haven't experienced anything like that yet.

    However, you know tomorrow is the 15th(?) anniversary of the Columbine shooting. I heard on the news that this damn fool, high school student is talking about going on a killing/shooting spree/rampage because kids in his school have been taunting and bullying him. I don't remeber what state - I think NJ, maybe CT? What the freak else is going to happen? I'm beginning to think the safest place is underground.

  18. Sorry Jo. Today is the 15th anniversary of Oklahoma shooting, not Columbine. Geez, I'm getting real confused with all this terroristic (is that a word?)nonsense.

  19. Def take her to the vet xx

    Animals are sooo sensitive much more than us humans xx

    Sam xx

    Hope she is feeling better xx