Silas was afraid of a lot of things in the house when he was tiny. I suspect he’d never been indoors before we had him, so things like tearing aluminum foil were scary. Mostly he’s been over that stuff for a while. He has a few known fears that we work around. The vacuum, for instance, drives him right into the laundry room to hide next to the washing machine. The blender is also pretty scary. The stand mixer is gradually earning his trust, since it gives him tasty bites of butter. Otherwise, he’s pretty comfortable with our day-to-day activities.
Which is why I was pretty surprised the other day to find him burrowing under my arm, shaking in terror. It took me a second to even realize what was wrong. It turned out that my husband was upstairs, pumping up the tires of my road bike. (It’s attached to the indoor bike-trainer for the winter.)
I’m not sure if the problem is that the tire pump sounds like an enormous water spray bottle or if it’s just an unpleasant sound, but Silas is terrified of it. His little body trembles, his ears go back, and he tries to crawl inside my clothes. The last one is the real tell of how serious this is–his usual reaction is just to get far away from whatever the sound is. The tire pump requires me to save him.
I guess the next thing on my training to-do list will be counter-conditioning the tire pump. Who knew?