Wilma’s 4th of July


“You’re home you’re home you’re home I thought you were never coming back what was all that noise it was horrible awful and I didn’t know where you were WHERE WERE YOU MONKEYS and what was that banging and booming it was BAD it was like the shelter but LOUDER and I was afraid it would never stop and”


“and I was scared I was so scared it was noisy out there and I stayed on the couch but you were out in the noise and I didn’t know where but”

“Wilma, honey…”

“where were you I was worried sick see sick on the floor right there see sorry sorry about the sick but I thought you were dead!”

“Wilma, sweetie, it’s okay, baby, calm down, shh.”

I sit on the floor beside her (avoiding the little puddle of barf) and stroke her to calm her nerves. “Good girl, Wilma, good girl.”

She’s panting. I try to explain.

“See, it’s the fourth of July and we went to a party, and…”

Wilma throws herself into my lap, exhausted.


I kiss her, then pet her head until she finally relaxes. “We won’t do it again, Wilma, I promise.”

And we won’t. We promise.


Earlier this week, Wilma and I had a calm discussion at Hometown Pasadena about the Story Kitchen writing workshop, which starts next week. Join us! Check out our conversation here.

For more of my chats with Wilma, search #WilmaDialogs on Facebook.

#4th of July#holidays#Hometown Pasadena#Wilma#WilmaDialogs


  1. William Kendall - July 8, 2016 @ 14:15

    Such a sweet face!

    • Petrea - July 8, 2016 @ 15:20

      You’re the best, William. Wilma says so, and it must be true.

  2. chris - July 8, 2016 @ 16:26

    omg, her eyes says it all!…. I had one dog that panted constantly and whined… my cat could of cared less… now an earthquake tremor- that’s another thing…. then I go into comfort mode…. how does Wilma handle earth tremors? lightening?

    • Petrea - July 8, 2016 @ 16:29

      Since we’ve had her the tremors we’ve had have been negligible. I don’t know how she’ll react, but I imagine that as long as she’s with her pack, she’ll do OK.

  3. Katie - July 8, 2016 @ 21:12

    Poor Wilma. The loud booms of fireworks always startle me, and I know they’re coming! But at least now you know how she reacts and can plan for next year. Such an adorable photo though.

    • Petrea - July 9, 2016 @ 10:50

      Thanks. I’d like to take us all away to somewhere quiet next year.

  4. Glow61 - July 8, 2016 @ 23:32

    Our Lily dog had teeth extracted just a few days before so we had some remaining sedatives. We gave her a small dose and kept her close. July 4th is meaningless to many around us – it’s only about firecrackers and smokebombs. The fireworks are an addiction in some communities. So, I’ve had it with amateur fireworks. All I could think about that night was how much sooner and clearer our pets hear things than we do. How much they sense and know. This helps me remember to take their queues.

    • Petrea - July 9, 2016 @ 10:52

      They do, don’t they? We thought about giving her a sedative, but didn’t want her to be missing her faculties should she need them for watch-dogging. Next time, we’ll be with her.

  5. Glow61 - July 8, 2016 @ 23:33

    I meant ‘cues,’ not queues! I’m tired. Good night.

  6. Lowell - July 9, 2016 @ 06:29

    There’s a lot of loving sweetness in the look on Wilma’s face. Can’t blame her for getting upset…how does she know you’re coming back? But it’s good that you can talk with her and that she understands how much you love her and that you would never go away and leave her forever.

    • Petrea - July 9, 2016 @ 10:55

      She’s a rescue, and we don’t know where she spent her first three years. Her fourth was at a shelter, then she was adopted, then she was returned to the shelter. Surely all of that caused insecurities, and even though Wilma’s been with us two years, even though we always come back, she’s never sure. She’s learned to exercise self-control most of the time, but the fourth was the limit!

  7. Irina - July 14, 2016 @ 02:40

    That is master’s writings: I hear her voice, her tension, her outrage.
    Thank you for the brilliant text.

    • Petrea - July 14, 2016 @ 12:09

      Thank you, Irina, for your kind words.

  8. Shelley - July 22, 2016 @ 19:21

    Poor Wilma !! Whenever I hear fireworks going off someplace, I feel for the puppy dogs. Having you home to soothe her will be wonderful.

    • Petrea - July 22, 2016 @ 21:05

      I wonder about babies, too. And animals in zoos. And something else we have in America: combat veterans with PTSD. The small, community fireworks displays of my youth are gone, and the giant explosions we now experience for the whole month leading up to Independence Day leave some of us hiding in our homes, anything but independent.

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