I once had a panic attack while dog sitting for my daughter. It was the inspiration for the following excerpt from my book. To set the scene, my main character, Maggie is meeting with her Therapist.
“You think panic attacks are a personal failure?” Sally asked.
“Don’t you? I close my eyes at night, and they play back in my head. Last night I dreamt about designer dogs again.”
Shortly after she quit her job, Maggie had agreed to housesit for her nephew, Derek for a weekend. Derek was the only one of their family and friends who didn’t realize that he was gay. The clues had always been there. He had an impeccable sense of style when he decorated his condominium in Mount Pleasant. His two Shih Tzus, Dolce and Gabbana, wore designer doggie clothes and had color coordinated rhinestone collars to go with their wardrobes.
Maggie had watched The Dog Whisperer often enough to know that Derek’s male, Gabbana was the dominant one, so she felt extra protective of Dolce during her stay. She was still smarting over the feeling of failing at her job, and felt like she had been on the verge of a panic attack throughout the first night at Derek’s place.
At one point, she snuggled Dolce lovingly against her breast. “Don’t worry little girl. I’ll be your Alpha and protect you from Gabbana.” She was wondering all the while how she was going to pull that miracle out of her butt, when she could barely keep her breathing steady. She was trembling violently as she rubbed the side of her face against Dolce’s little head. If she was hoping for some mutual comfort, she didn’t get it.
Dolce started wiggling to be put down. “I’m trying to protect you, you little mutt,” Maggie whispered. Dolce had responded by snarling and truly fighting her. Maggie was stooping to put her down, when MWAP, Dolce landed a right hook directly in Maggie’s eye as she writhed in her arms. Maggie dropped to her knees and clutched at her eye as Dolce slithered out from under her arm to the floor.
Maggie felt like she was drowning, unable to catch her breath between the sobs and the painful constriction in her chest. She was on her hands and knees, mentally measuring the distance to the phone. Dolce chose this moment to pee on her foot, while Gabbana started humping her leg. She tried to drag herself to the phone, with Dolce weaving back and forth in front of her, barking viciously. Gabbana was still determinedly holding on while pleasuring himself on Maggie’s thigh. Maggie gave up and collapsed on the floor waiting for the panic attack to pass, occasionally shaking her leg to try to dislodge Gabbana.
For the rest of the weekend, every time she came near them Dolce snarled at her and Gabbana tried to make a play for a little romantic ankle action. She couldn’t even get close enough to change them out of their t-shirts printed with the words “Cute little bitch,” and “Cute little son of a bitch.” Since then, foo-foo designer dogs and panic attacks had been indelibly linked in her mind. Even now, she felt her chest tighten thinking about it.