Friday, April 15, 2011


Ligyrophobia: a fear of loud sounds, especially sudden unexpected ones.

Today, I have diagnosed my dog with this disorder.

Let's explore ligyrophobia a little more, shall we? According to (emphasis is mine):
Ligyrophobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of noise. While all of us are startled and jump, in response to a sharp, sudden noise, the ligyrophobic individual may be intensely fearful...As with all phobias, the person coping with Ligyrophobia has experienced trauma at some point in their life. That traumatic event is then consistently and automatically associated with noise, especially loud and sudden noise. 
Symptoms of Ligyrophobia may include: a dry mouth; heart palpitations; numbness; heightened senses; breathlessness; feeling dizzy; muscle tension; hyperventilation; trembling; rapid heartbeat; feeling out of control; feeling trapped and unable to escape; intense feeling of impending disaster.
And some examples, courtesy of PsychWiki (surely the utmost authority in mental health information):
Ligyrophobics may be fearful of devices that can suddenly emit loud sounds, such as computer speakers or fire alarms.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

Our struggles with smoke detectors have been well documented. During our most recent smoke alarm debacle, Achilles took things rather hard. He trembled, he hid, he refused to come out from under the covers until I dragged him out for fear he would over heat. He clearly experienced trauma. I feared that during that instance, the smoke detector broke our dog. I get no pleasure in saying this, but it appears I was right.

In our new apartment, our smoke detector is right outside the bathroom door. This is a rather poor placement if you are a person who enjoys a nice, long, steamy shower, as my husband often does. We discovered this immediately upon moving in, when we arrived at this apartment at about 11:00 p.m. on moving day, wanting nothing more than a hot shower and to collapse in bed. Eric showered first and immediately set off the smoke detector. Welcome home, indeed!

Usually, it doesn't go all the way off, but it gives little warning beeps. If it gets a bit steamy, it will just let out one little short beep every few minutes until the steam subsides. No big us. To my poor, traumatized pup, however, morning showers bring fear.

In the past, I would usually be lounging in bed while Eric got ready for work. I'm lazy like that. Achilles was usually right by my side. When that smoke detector would beep, however, he would instantly jump up and make a mad dash for the safety of under the bed, where he would stay for some time until we could convince him the danger had passed. All it took was one beep, and he was off in a flash. Smoke detector beeps are no joke, friends.

Poor puppy under the bed. (No, we still haven't put the bedskirt on the bed since moving in. Don't judge.)

Lately, however, in preparation for the Five Boro Bike Ride, I have been getting up and hitting the gym every morning while Eric gets ready for work. And apparently, under the bed is not so safe if I am not in the bed to offer additional protection. Now, when that smoke detector beeps, the dog runs to hide near Eric - in the bathroom. Behind the toilet.

Oh, boy.

The first time he did this, Eric could not find him anywhere. He looked all over the house for our poor, frightened dog, in all the usual spots - his beds, his crate, under the bed, on the couch, under the covers. And then he found him:

Ligyrophobia rears its ugly head.

Is that not the saddest thing you have ever seen? Without me in the apartment to protect him, the poor dog was forced to seek shelter on a cold tile floor behind a toilet.

And oh, how he shakes. He just trembles like a leaf as soon as that thing beeps. Sometimes I worry he might shake so hard he'll pull a muscle or throw his back out or something.

So, I have diagnosed him. He is ligyrophobic. Extreme trauma? Check. Muscle tension? Check. Trembling? To an astonishing degree. Feeling out of control? Clearly, he ends up behind the toilet! Feeling trapped and unable to escape? Again, clearly. Intense feeling of impending disaster? Well, that's just kind of how he lives his life generally, so CHECK.

Poor, poor little Achilles. Such a rough life he leads.


moderndaywife said...

awww poor doggy! he's sooo cute though :-)

Steph said...

Poor little baby! I feel so bad for him :(

Dad said...

and I must say, if you have seen him cower and shake like I have, it is even more pathetic. He needs Lucy to protect him.

KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

Poor Achilles! I am pretty sure our cat Woods has the same condition. Thunder, our doorbell ringing, all sorts of noises cause him to go off running and hide. And don't even get me started on the vacuum cleaner :)

Megan said...

Hahahahaha. This post totally made me laugh!! Poor little baby!! My mom has a dog that is scared of everything, too. She starts shaking and hiding. Dogs are SO silly!

Jessica Renee said...

Poor baby!! And that is the saddest face I have ever seen in that last pic! lol :(

Becky said...

That is just the saddest thing ever.