Friday, July 1, 2011

Prepare your dogs for July Fourth.

The Fourth of July may be an exciting holiday for humans, but our canine counterparts dread the flashing lights and banging noises that they can never understand.

Because dogs can hear at a range of  40 Hz to 60,000 Hz (while humans can only hear 12 Hz to 20,000 Hz, the noises of fireworks and thunder are very terrifying for them.

These frightening sights and sounds drive many dogs from their homes or owners in search of a safe place to hide. When they eventually end up at the local shelter, they displace many dogs that are already there.

In 2009, Salt Lake County Animal Services- 
which usually takes in 5 dogs a day- took in 73 dogs in the days after July 4th.
Sometimes the consequences can be worse than a night's stay at the shelter. A few years ago, my boyfriend and I were in the Thousand Islands for July Fourth when a family member's elderly Wheaten terrier named Caramel was let out at dusk to do her business. When no one could find her a little later, no one was concerned because the house we were at was surrounded by water and Caramel wasn't very mobile at this point in her life. Blind and somewhat deaf, she usually bumped into things and stood in corners for long periods of time because they were safer.
Later that night, after the fireworks, we feared that she had gotten lost in the woods nearby and went searching with flashlights. Unable to find her we waited till sunlight.
The next morning, family members circled the islands in boats and climbed through the woods. Finally, a neighbor on a neighboring island said she heard barking. We ran to the reeds where the water met a portion of the wooded island and found her in the water, clinging to some brush. She had yelped not 15 minutes earlier so we jumped in, pulled her out and carried her back to the house where we laid her out in the sun.
Somehow, despite her arthritis and age, she was able to swim to a safe spot and tread water all night, only to die when we got to her. She was bleeding from her nose from exerting so much effort, so we knew she had just recently passed. It was an extremely difficult sight to witness for Caramel's family- whose children had grown up with her.

Later that day we buried her among the wild lilacs, knowing that her time was coming soon but sad that she passed with such stress and anxiety. Other stories include a dog who had a siezure and died during the fireworks, and another who tore up the whole house in panic-causing himself to bleed. (Read here.)

To prevent these kinds of tragedies and the unfortunate influx of family pets to already crowded shelters- please keep your dog somewhere safe and quiet on Monday night.

First of all- do NOT take your pet to the fire works display. It is NOT fun for him or her- trust me, your pet wants to be at home, in the dark- in their crate or under a blanket. My parents' Wheaten terrier even tries to climb into the refrigerator to hide when fireworks or storms are rumbling outside.

DO NOT leave them outside, especially without identification.

DO NOT wait to go to the shelter if your dog is lost. With the large influx of animals, some shelters may not wait as long as it takes you to find your family member.

For more tips on keeping your dog safe, click here.
Thanks for reading---Good luck and enjoy the holiday weekend!
Winnie loves the water- this seems like a pretty safe depth to me!

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