Middleofnowhere, Thank you for your reply:) I've come around the long way to the same conclusion that your comment about Bill Campbell advocated. She's picking up on my vibes. But, with the one exception of the power washer steam sprayer the restaraunt guy was using. That may be a lifelong fear for her. I simply cannot expose her to that noise enough do damp it down as it only happens twice a year.
Since her "freak out" and withdrawal she has gradually come back to normal, thank God. It's been a really hard winter here (6 feet of snow in 6 weeks and nothing's melting but turning into a "devils golf course of deep snow/ice).
She tried to run just a little in the yard and the ice caught her dew claw... blood all over the snow. But, she's getting her confidence back to normal. But, in her deep sleep she still "jerks" and is wide awake and on alert if a car drives down our street late at night.
So, we're just working on that... her new found protection duties of me and house... just reassuring/calming her when everything's ok or reinforcement a couple of times a month when her alerts are well founded and appreciated.
Back on the right track. It just freaked me out to see such an out of character reversal from her. It's still underlying, I can tell - but I guess not unexpected in a finally mature dog. We'll just treat it like all the other interesting changes in the last 2.5 years:)
Thanks for the sharing on size too. I feel all alone out there sometimes.:) In perfect health and 27"atw so still, on the lean side... she's looong.