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Fear of Thunder, Love of Sticks


Cole eating a stick . . .

A video my oldest son Matt sent me of his 16-month-old son, Cole, eating a stick, reminded me — for maybe the thousandth time — how similar little kids are to dogs.  And I’m not the only one who’s made this observation.  My


. . . Kemba loves ’em, too

middle son Greg, who has three little boys (ages 4, 2, and one month) and a dog, says exactly the same thing all the time.

The kids-and-dogs likeness came to mind a couple of times this week — a tough few days for Kemba — with the Fourth of July and Tropical Storm Elsa.  First fireworks, then thunder and lightning — all the things that terrify my poor little dog the most.  It got so bad that around 10 o’clock on the night of the Fourth — our beach neighbor had set off a fireworks display worthy of Grucci — that I finally resorted to shepherding my shaking Duck Toller into the SUV and


The fireworks next door: Cool for us, scary for dogs

driving him across Napeague Meadow Road — getting him to the bay side of Amagansett, rather than the ocean side.  With no


Kemba on thunder nights: He’s not allowed on the bed, but he couldn’t get much closer. (Yup, those are my clothes and flip flops he’s lying on.)

explosions and no roaring surf, the frightened thing was able to catch his breath and calm down.

Of course, I used to do the exact same thing with all three boys when they were on crying jags as babies:  I’d strap them into their carseats and drive around and around and around — I particularly remember driving the Beachside Avenue loop endlessly with Robby — to get them to calm down and settle into a desperately needed nap. (I would also do this with Ricky the Beagle after his seizures.)  The constant motion, the thrum of the engine, all cozy in a secure place — worked every time, for boys and dogs.

But the stick-eating?  I don’t know.  You’ll have to ask Cole — and Kemba — about that.


Hank Herman