Charley, our 200-pound oldest mastiff, doesn’t like thunderstorms or fireworks.  In fact, the older he gets, the less he likes those things.

So on July fourth, my husband and I took the dogs into the bedroom, closed the blinds, and turned up the TV loud.  We tried to act as though nothing were out of the ordinary (and missed a lot of fireworks) so our dogs would stay calm.  This approach worked pretty well until it was time to turn off the TV and go to sleep.

I had hoped most of the noise would be finished by eleven, but a few stubborn merry-makers kept the firecrackers going–some right behind our house.  Charley did what he always does when he’s frightened–he threw himself on the bed, but he’s only able to throw the top HALF of himself onto the bed.  When this happens, I always wrap him in a blanket to make him feel secure (see photo).

At about 11:30, though, my hubby pulled Charley off the bed and we went to sleep.  Charley stuck his head under the bed and everything seemed okay.

Now you have to understand something for the rest of this story to make sense. Our bed is one of those very heavy (I’m talking more than 500 pounds, certainly) foam mattress sets, the kind that last forever and weigh a ton.   Plus, it’s very tall, even though there are only about ten inches of empty space between the floor and the edge of the bed frame.

So all is well, but I wake up around 2:30 a.m.  I hear odd scratching sounds, and it sounds like one of the dogs are under the bed.  I can’t see a thing, but I don’t want the poor dog to panic, so I turn on a light and wake up my hubby.

Uh oh.  We see that Charley is under the bed, but only his front half is really beneath the bed frame.  His back legs and rear end are sticking out.  So I try to grab him around his middle and slide him out–no way.  He’s too heavy, too wedged, and I can’t budge him.

So hubby gets up and tries to help me.  We can’t move the dog.  We try to lift the bed, but it’s amazingly heavy.  With one of us lifting and one of us pulling the dog, we seem to only wedge him in further, and now I can see that the bed frame is actually pushing into the dog.  I begin to worry about internal injuries and wonder if dogs can get bruises.

Finally the adrenaline kicks in.  Hubster lifts the bed in a superhuman effort, I pull on the dog, and Charley is free!  He’s stunned and still frightened, so I grab his security blanket (yes, he has one), and call him over to it.   Within minutes, he’s shaking the blankey and getting into his regular bed.

Hubby is moaning and groaning about his back, and my own back feels a little worse for wear.  But we’ve saved the dog.

And next year, I’m stuffing all my quilts and blankets under the bed to fill that empty space. I don’t want to go through this again.



  1. k_stin

    I’m sorry for your rude awakening in the middle of the night, but Charley is SO cute in that picture. It’s funny that such a big dog could be so scared.

  2. Becky Stoeber

    I have found the bigger the dog the more scared they are. I had a bigger dog (though nowhere near Charley’s size) and she was terrified of thunder and fireworks. She convinced the mailman she was going to come the window after him though!

  3. Ane Mulligan

    I can relate! Our Shadrach is only 10 pounds lighter than Charlie, and he too hates fireworks. Our MO is to put him in the bathtub and turn on the bathroom fan. It worked great last year with the old rickety fan that rattles as it whirred.

    Then the hubs replaced it and the new one is much quieter. It doesn’t cover up the fireworks as well. So Shadrach is in then out of the tub. Then he hides under the hubs’s desk where the hub’s legs should go.

    He ran into the kitchen just I opened the dishwasher and blimey if he didn’t try to hide in there!

  4. namc23

    Poor Charlie! I hope he realizes we’re not laughing at his fear, just the consequences of it! My friend’s large black Lab, OJ, was afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks too. The vet told us to give him Benedry tabs about 30 min before expected storms and such. He was still concerned, but not terrified!
    Thanks for sharing and give Charlie a hug for me!

  5. Ruthie

    I sure know how Charlie feels…I’m afraid of sudden loud noises such as thunder and fireworks too. It’s not a fun feeling!

  6. Linda G

    Poor Gary, I wonder if a car jack or some type of jack would raise up the bed. Just in case it happens again without warning.

  7. Leslie

    I have to say I am blessed. My dog doesn’t think twice about lightening, thunder, or fireworks. I think it may have been because she was born during our first thunderstorm season (there’s always one in Mid-March – Mid- April and then again in August).

    I also wanted to recommend something to help your backs – last year a co-worker told me about Formula 303 – which her chiro had told her about – its a natural muscle relaxant. I wasn’t able to buy any for myself (couldn’t find it in town) but 1 of the main ingredients is Valarian Root. Now when my back is hurting or I accidentally over do it I take it before I go to bed – not only does it help me sleep but the next day my back is not nearly as sore. My back has been at the point where I needed to go see a chiro for the last few days – and instead I’ve been taking the Valerian root and.. I don’t need to go now 🙂

  8. Mocha with Linda

    Should have come to central Texas. All fireworks were banned because of the drought. There have been too many fires. Even all the professional displays were canceled. And people actually complied. I didn’t hear a single pop. We are outside the city limits so there’s always lots going on, and even on years they are banned, folks still think they are above the law. Not this year. I was amazed – but a bit saddened because it showed just how serious the situation is.

  9. Leslie

    Linda – I’m in East Texas – we have burn bans too (though its not as serious, I believe as it is with you guys) – We were still able to have the professional ones but no one was supposed to set any off.

    Yeah, right.

    I’m actually *amazed* that people complied. Truly and completely amazed.

    (of course, to be fair – the hour before nightfall on the 4th we got the first rain we’d seen in a couple of months – so everything got wet – maybe they all thought it was “safe” then)

  10. Paige

    When Kelsey, our first mastiff, was about 16 weeks old, she got stuck under our bed in the middle of the night. She could crawl in, but couldn’t back up! We were awakened by this WhOMP WHOMP as she tried to stand up. We too had to lift the bed off of her! Such precious (and funny) memories!


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