Gypsy the English Staffordshire terrier becomes so terrified in storms she rips holes in walls.
Gypsy the English Staffordshire terrier becomes so terrified in storms she rips holes in walls. Nathan Rumble

Adored pet's destructive ways leave owners no choice

THUNDERSTORMS are enough to make any pet uneasy, but for Sunshine Coast dog Gypsy it's enough to chew through walls, doors and even gyprock in panic.

Owner of the Staffordshire terrier, Nathan Rumble was at wit's end with his eight-year-old dog who became severely distressed in storms.

"She loses her mind," he said.

Since taking her in five years ago, Mr Rumble said Gypsy had become extremely anxious when alone in thunderstorms and tried anything to escape their property.

 

Mooloolaba chef Nathan Rumble has to take his dog 'Gypsy' to work because she is terrified of storms.
Mooloolaba chef Nathan Rumble has to take his dog 'Gypsy' to work because she is terrified of storms. Warren Lynam

In her panicked sate, Gypsy chewed through chicken wire, perspex, walls, doors and attempted to claw through gyprock, often injuring herself.

"She's even scratched her claws off in an attempt to get out," Mr Rumble said.

 

Some of the mess Gypsy left duet o stress from a recent storm.
Some of the mess Gypsy left due to stress from a recent storm. Nathan Rumble

Despite several vet and animal behaviourist visits, nothing could be done to treat Gypsy's anxiety at her age, so Mr Rumble often took her to his workplace for comfort.

"She is suffering and we feel like we've exhausted all our plausible options," he said.

 

Some of the mess Gypsy left duet o stress from a recent storm.
Some of the mess Gypsy left due to stress from a recent storm. Nathan Rumble

The family already tried cage-training, a behavioural psychology consultant, a thunder jacket, herbal and homoeopathic treatment, acupuncture, music, essential oils and medication.

"One clap of thunder will set her off," he said.

"She's completely fine when she's around people, but it's just a combination of fear and isolation in those storms."

 

Gypsy shaved down her nails in desperation from clawing an aluminium fence in a storm.
Gypsy shaved down her nails in desperation from clawing an aluminium fence in a storm. Nathan Rumble

With storm season approaching, this time of year was particularly difficult and Mr Rumble was searching for a solution - some company.

Their family hoped a kind member of the public may like some canine company in storms as well.

"The perfect scenario would be an older person, home frequently, who could have her while we were at work," he said.

 

Gypsy the English Staffordshire terrier is eight-years-old.
Gypsy the English Staffordshire terrier is eight-years-old. Nathan Rumble

Gypsy's family adored her and re-homing wasn't an option.

"It's been a roller-coaster of mixed emotions but we can't let her go," he said.

"Walls are replaceable, she isn't."

QUICK TIPS FOR PET OWNERS IN STORMS

  • Keep pets safe and calm indoors with you or on a tether that provides sufficient running space and access to food and water.
  • Put them inside the laundry or toilet or in a suitable crate.
  • A thundershirt for your dog or cat is also a great way of keeping them calm from anxiety in stressful situations.
  • In the event of a missing pet, make the process of finding them easier by having them registered, microchipped and have a pet ID attached to their collar.