A Different Kind of Fireworks

Hugo rarin' to go!

On the 4th of July we celebrated a friend’s birthday by going over to her house to make her dinner and hang out and watch fireworks over the San Francisco Bay from her veranda. Our friend only lives two doors down from us and after the meal I went to our house to pick up Hugo, our youngest dog, so he could hang out with us at our friend’s house during the fireworks. I didn’t anticipate a problem, he is a little over a year old and was born before last 4th of July, but he was so young last year and this would be his first year hearing fireworks while in his adolescent-mildly-reactive phase. I wanted to keep an eye on him just in case he got spooked.

Hugo did just fine with the noise and commotion; in fact it didn’t faze him at all. After the display we went home to settle down with a movie for the remainder of the evening.

Normally when we sit in our living room in the evening, either reading or watching a movie, the dogs all join us and settle down pretty much immediately into their usual places. Claude is in his very own leather armchair, Dune is curled up on a dog bed on the side of the couch opposite to where my husband and I sit, and Hugo either lounges on top of Dune or in my lap. This evening was no different, everyone settled down into his or her spots and we turned on the telly.

Within less than five minutes Hugo sat up like a shot. Jolted as though he’d heard a noise outside or had been bitten by a bug. Then he jumped off of the couch and started nuzzling around on the ground. Then he nudged Dune’s nose in an invitation to play and flopped to the ground gyrating on his back, wiggling irresistibly like an overturned sow bug. Dune lazily heeded Hugo’s call, though it seemed more out of obligation than interest.
They jaw wrestled quietly for a while.

While this late-night action was somewhat unusual, it had happened before on occasion and usually ended within the space of five minutes. We paused the movie and let them play thinking they’d been cooped up a bit more than usual that day due to our holiday plans.

But the play didn’t end. After about ten minutes I noticed that Hugo’s energy was actually increasing and that Dune was no longer really playing with him but instead trying to calm him down by pressing on Hugo with his enormous head. Every now and then Dune would drape his body over Hugo’s and lie down, literally trying to physically smush Hugo and stop him from moving around so wildly.

I started paying attention to what was going on. Hugo was running around our small living room like a madman. He had this wide maniacal grin on his face and looked just like Jack Nicholson as the Joker. He bounced off of the furniture and kept doing these kamikaze dives into his bed, the couch cushions, Dune’s body, my husband’s lap, and the hardwood floor. He’d leap for the couch from five feet away and miss and slam to the floor only to bounce right back up and dive at Dune’s neck, grabbing Dune’s extra skin and shaking it like a tug toy.

Hugo was out of control! He looked like the cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Granted it was pretty funny. I’d seen puppy zoomies before and they had nothing on this whirlwind dervish of a display. Dune alternated between playing with him and trying to calm him down (to no avail). This went on for about half an hour when Hugo ran down the stairs making a beeline for the garden door, grunting and panting all the way. He ran outside and Dune followed him, ever the control freak.

I stayed inside and don’t know what kind of antics took place in the cool evening air. While the dogs were outside I said to my husband, "I don’t know what the heck is wrong with him! It’s like he’s lost his mind.” My husband agreed, “It’s like he’s on drugs. Did you give him anything?”

I said that I hadn’t given anything but his regular dinner. Then a light bulb flashed in my mind; while at our friend’s house I’d requested Hugo do a down-stay while we had birthday cake. Birthday cake with super-sweet butter cream frosting. Frosting which I ran my finger through occasionally to reward Hugo for staying down so nicely at the party…

Oh my goodness he was totally having a sugar buzz!!!

I didn’t give him that much frosting or cake but he is a little guy and he eats raw diet, so he isn’t even used to the amount of sugar found in grain let alone a straight shot of the stuff. Oh dear. I felt so terrible. And so stupid. Well at least I knew what was going on now.

Both dogs came in from the garden about 5 minutes later and Hurricane Hugo-Louis showed no signs of slowing down. Dune however was really ready for bed. After 20 more minutes of watching with both amusement and horror (it had been an hour of this altogether) I tried to settle the little dervish down by cradling him and talking to him in a soothing voice. It didn’t really work and I resorted to putting him in his crate where he’d be forced to rest. After about 10 minutes or staring at us alertly he put his bulbous head down and crashed for the night. I wonder if he had “sweet” dreams.
A calmer, more typical evening pose.

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