Taking the dog’s cue, he’s a trained professional

Melanie Yingst - Contributing Columnist

Last Wednesday night, like most of Miami County, I weathered the storm alongside my son and my dog in the basement of my home for about 30 minutes.

I usually enjoy storms — when I can see them from afar.

Last Wednesday was a little too close for comfort.

In fact, it was the first time I had ever sought shelter from a tornado in my whole life.

It struck me that we may be in the path of potential danger when the meteorologist interrupted the season finale of “Survivor.” When you hear your neighborhood and its nearby roads grossly mispronounced on local television, you may need to start heading to the basement. (And it’s pronounced Al-con-ee weather friends, not Al-CONE-ee, like coney dog).

But, I digress.

Even hearing my area on the weather alerts, I still wasn’t quite bolting to the basement door.

It was only when I called for my dog Shorty and couldn’t find him that I knew this storm was serious.

Animals sense things better than humans. In fact, the frogs had quit chirping about an hour before the storm, and they are known for their weather prediction capabilities.

And the cows were battling for a dry spot to weather the impeding rain out in the fields.

And my mutt was hiding underneath my bed.

OK. If the dog was nervous, then I should be nervous.

This was my sign.

After I coaxed the dog from under my bed, I then recruited the pup to get the 13-year-old out of bed.

My son hates storms. Hates them. Our first summer on the farm a derecho swept across Ohio, crushing grain bins like tin cans and damaging the Subway store in the nearby town.

During that storm, I had stood at my back porch and watched the straight line winds rip off a heavy metal barn door off its tracks about 20 feet away, but I still didn’t seek shelter in the basement.

Meanwhile, Evan buried himself under sofa cushions and a heavy blanket in the middle of summer. I remember him peeking out from under the cushions to ask if the storm had blown over every 30 seconds.

He still brings it up.

While I balked at following the advice of a trained professional weather forecaster, I totally took my rescue dog’s cue and grabbed a flash light, my keys, a few dog treats and some water.

Evan wasn’t happy about going to the basement. I told him to grab his blanket and his phone. Evan curled up with his blanket over his head.

In a century old farmhouse, basements aren’t exactly the most inviting places to go. Everything is wet and smells musty. There’s junk piled up in old boxes, and paint cans are scattered all over. They are more like cellars, but it beats huddling in a closet or bathroom in my book.

I cleared Evan’s little red wagon off so we’d have some where to sit. I think I’ll start storing the camping chairs down in the basement for this type of situation.

The poor kid was so nervous and filled with anxiety. He wasn’t alone. On social media, I saw other mothers seeking advice for storm anxiety as well.

Most suggested essential oils.

While other mothers huddled in their basements rubbing their children with lavender oil, I just told my kid to turn on some funny videos on YouTube to take his mind off the wind and pouring rain. That seemed helped take the edge off without smelling like a peppermint candy cane, although if there’s one place in my house that needs to smell better its the basement.

All in all, we weathered the storm together and luckily our home didn’t sustain any damage this time around. I can’t imagine what Tornado Alley goes through this time of year.

But I’m glad I took the dog’s advice.


Melanie Yingst

Contributing Columnist

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News.When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow will have a puddle.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News.When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow will have a puddle.