We, the people, love the 4th of July! It’s our birthright to have a party, drink beer and BBQ to show gratitude to our founding fathers who risked their lives for our freedom. Our biggest ‘thank you’ may be the spectacular light shows we give them up in heaven (I’m assuming…). Fireworks are a classic signature of Independence Day. Not sure whose decision that was, or how long ago, but everyone sets off Roman candles or messes around with sparklers once the stars come out. Communities become closer on July 4th when neighbors trek outside to enjoy the show. But not everyone in the house enjoys the firework display. You see their reaction every year, yet never think twice about continuing the tradition. That’s right, I’m talking about man’s best friend – your dog!
Despite how exciting and beautiful we find fireworks, we torture our four-legged friends and force them to endure the scariest night of their lives…every year. They never see it coming. The days preluding the 4th act as a warm-up to prepare your pets for the actual event. Pretty sure it just makes everything worse. These poor dogs already have to sit through thunder, but storms are out of our control. Storms eventually pass and thunder doesn’t sound like bubble wrap on crack. Our frightened dogs have to find shelter from the booms and bangs and shimmers underneath beds, in their crates or under the house through the carpet. Some dogs reduce to piles of shaking mush, shivering and whimpering, and we ignore their pathetic attempts to escape the clatter by encouraging more fireworks with ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’. My arthritic labrador musters up whatever remaining energy she has left just to climb up the wooden stairs to find sanctuary in my parents’ bedroom. Apparently, that’s the safest place in the house.
We know how terrifying this day is for our dogs. We make comments about their reactions. We feel sorry that they’re so upset, but then we go back outside to tell our friends how scared our dog is and finish the night. I’m guilty of this. I’m sure we all are. And even though the tradition scares the shit out of our friends, sometimes literally, they still love us the next day once they’ve realized it’s over. So until our dogs revolt, possibly by dumping all our fireworks into a bay, the 4th will always be a day we love and a day our dogs hate.