Fourth of July — Be Kind to your pets
By Robin Burcell
Tomorrow is the 4thof July. I have fond memories of waving sparklers at night, watching as they fizzled out and all that was left was the metal wand which still had a molten glow long after the sparkler died. And the little disks that were lit, sending up slate-colored ash snakes, then leaving a nasty black scar on the sidewalk… And Piccolo Pete’s. Who can forget the loud, high pitch screaming that ended with a bang!
For years, the county where I now live outlawed all fireworks due to fire danger. But it wasn’t all bad. The city spent a small fortune putting on a big fireworks show at the lake, free to all who wanted to spend the day at the park, then find a place to watch the colorful bursts in the night sky. We were fortunate in that for 26 years, we lived on the other side of the lake and could watch from our very own backyard. Sadly (for fireworks viewing) we moved last year. Now we get to hear the illegal fireworks that some of the neighbors set off.
Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who feel the law doesn’t apply to them. It seems every neighborhood has this type. It wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t for the pets who are affected. And it wouldn’t bother me so much if they only did it the one night. But between the firecrackers, M80s, bottle rockets and the big rockets, the loud bangs start several days before the 4thand continue for several days after.
Our boxer was never too bothered about the fireworks, even when we lived behind the lake and they were being set off just a couple of blocks away. But our standard poodle, like a lot of dogs, cannot tolerate the loud sounds. I feel so bad for her, and it seems there’s little we can do. I’ve wondered if a weighted blanket might comfort her. I recently read about one woman who drugs her dog to keep him calm on the 4th. I’m not sure that’s the right answer.
While I wish everyone the happiest 4th, I do hope you’ll take into consideration all the homes with pets who are bothered by the loud noises. Don’t set off illegal fireworks! And for those of you with pets, take precautions. Keep them inside if you can. Make sure your gates are secured if you can’t.
What I’d really like to know, Rouge Readers, is if you have any tips or tricks to keep your pets calm for the 4th?