Most of us love Fourth of July fireworks. Because of their highly sensitive ears and (often) traumatic experiences, many many animals do NOT like them one bit.
Which makes July 4th one of the biggest days of the year for animals to run away and otherwise take cover from fireworks. So many animal groups have been posting articles and entreaties to remind people that they should take those extra steps make sure animals are feel safe and comfortable this holiday.
Which as this infographic highlights means that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters.
Animal shelters can be very stressful places for pets anyway with July 4th ratcheting up the fear and stress levels for many. To help their residents feel less stressed out, The Maricopa County Animal Shelter (AZ) started their Calming the Canines event where volunteers come and read or simply talk to and comfort the dogs and other companion animals in their care.
Over 300 people turned out for the event last year.
What a fantastic idea. And one that other shelters around the country have borrowed. Most if not all the shelters in the Chicago Southland are closed this Fourth of July. No doubt the hard-working staff looks forward to the respite and celebrating the holiday.
But wouldn’t it be a “Yankee Doodle Dandy” of an idea is someone in our area will take up the mantle and do some version of “Calming the Canines” event.
Shelter animals would love it. It would make the day a lot less scary for the animals. And without a doubt, even those who remain unfazed by what’s going on, would appreciate the company.
And the extra TLC.
Taking the idea one step further, maybe we could piggyback it with some block canvassing to educate people about being more aware of what animals go through this time of year and get people to do a in-home version of “Calming the Canines.”
Like putting on calming music or trying some soothing aromatherapy to help their own pets feel relaxed, especially if they are going out to watch the fireworks and no one will stay behind.
And let’s not forget about the resident dogs. Often resident dogs are kept outside much of the time, so bear the brunt of all those neighborhood fireworks going on. Ideally, they should brought indoors until the day is over (though unfortunately in many neighborhoods, the fireworks have become a weeks long thang, starting before the Fourth and going on as long as they have them). It’s the noise.
Outside dogs, of course, are especially in danger of running away, turning up in a shelter or animal pound the next day. If they are lucky. More frightening is they could get run over by a car or hurt by hurling or descending fireworks.
Equally awful are those folks who thinks its funny to shoot fireworks near or at the neighborhood resident dogs or feral cat colony. It’s NOT. It’s cruel.
Personally I think this should be a charge that carries fines and community service.
But I’ll get off of that flashpoint for now.
Point is, we all need to be more aware that Fourth of July fireworks (like thunderstorms) aren’t the same fun-loving event for animals as it is for us. It can be very traumatic. So let’s be extra compassionate and keep them safe and calm the Fourth…in fact, all 365 days of the year.
Remembering, that it takes a village, after all.