To celebrate freedom, America tortures its dogs

If dogs could talk, the first question they’d probably ask is, “what’s the deal with humans?”

Alas, it’s a mystery even to the homo sapiens among us, especially the owners of canines who, by the time night falls at this time of year, are holding quivering balls of fur.

So Margery Eagan, cohost of WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” writes a plea in today’s Boston Globe to people with illegal fireworks and a plan to bomb the streets: Don’t.

It’s unlikely she actually thinks it will do any good for the 40 percent of dogs who are tortured by the sound of fireworks. One of the deals with humans, pups, is we don’t take to people or dogs who stand in the way of whatever we want to do even if it results in a big jump in runaway dogs at this time of the year.

Of course, it’s true that fretting dog owners like me can get to the vet for doggie tranquilizers. I’ve done it every year. One minute Harry the P, Best Dog from Sea to Sea, is trotting about the house. The next, his little legs splay out from underneath him. He’s but a mophead on the floor, gonzo.

But I can’t keep him doped up for a week. I shouldn’t have to.

So you may not care about your neighbors, or like them much either. But when you can’t resist exploding that M-80 days and weeks after the Fourth, stop and think about what you’re doing to your neighbor’s trusting, tail-wagging little dog, and save that nasty explosive till next year.

Stop and think about something or someone else? Good one.

Assuming the fireworksers ignore the request, she suggests dog owners close the windows and shades, turn on all the fans in the house for white noise, and put the dogs in their kennel but don’t close the door.

And while you’re waiting for the fireworks to start this week, get your dog tagged and chipped.

  • John

    We got this guy last August, but given how he reacts to thunderstorms, or cheering, or any loud noise at all, Wednesday night is going to be tough.

    We got him one of those Thundershirts (it’s essentially a compression vest), and that helps him as much or more than pills (I hate giving him those pills). Also – in his case, the herbal pills often work faster than the pharmaceutical ones, though they don’t work quite as well.

    • Thundershirts helped a few of my pups as well.

      Nice pup!

    • Who’s a good dog?

    • AL287

      He looks like a real sweetheart. I bought a pheromone collar for my cat and that has helped some but cats and medications are a tricky combination.

      • John

        He’s good looking.

        We’re working on the good behavior side of the equation.

    • Kassie

      Which herbal ones do you use? I haven’t had much luck with them.

      • John

        I bought them last fall, and can’t recall the exact name. Based on my memory and a quick scan of what the various bottles look like on the the PetSmart web site, they’re most likely GNC branded Ultra Mega Calming Formula.

  • Barton

    A post on Facebook by a high school acquaintance riled me to no end yesterday. His neighbor has PTSD and had sent letters to all the houses in the neighborhood asking that they not use fireworks at home/in the neighborhood, but instead head to the municipal display and enjoy the celebration with their fellow Americans. That seemed reasonable to me. Except to the acquaintance it was the same as asking him to give up his 2nd Amendment rights – in fact said acquaintance stated his plan to go out and but even MORE fireworks to blow up this week b/c how dare the neighbor ask for some consideration.

    I miss the days when fireworks were pretty much illegal in MN, and everyone just went to the municipal displays…. I also miss the idea I had of America where we actually gave a thought to the needs of others (not sure this was ever a reality…)

    • MrE85

      Fireworks (the exploding kind) ARE illegal in Minnesota, but that law is widely ignored.

      Your neighbor isn’t the only one troubled by fireworks,

      • Barton

        He isn’t my neighbor but an acquaintance. But here is the really disturbing thing to me. My acquaintance is a combat vet (1st Gulf War) and his neighbor asking for consideration is also a combat vet (2nd Gulf War). So much for vets caring for each other…..

        • jon

          Celebrate your country by blowing up a part of it…

          Celebrate your freedom by tormenting those who were willing to fight for it.

          Celebrate your government and it’s laws, by breaking them.

          Pretty sure we’d celebrate our independence from the crown by bowing to it given the chance.

    • Jim in RF

      I can’t imagine being so unkind.

  • AL287

    My sister had an English Pointer that was so afraid during thunderstorms and fireworks she had the nickname “Velcro Dog” because she would cling to your leg if there was thunder.

    But fear of fireworks and thunderstorms is not limited to just dogs.

    My Maine Coon Bitsy was also fearful during thunderstorms and especially during the firework display that is launched from the lake just a few blocks south of my apartment. At the first flash of lightning she would creep under the furniture until the storm had passed, the same for the fireworks.

    As luck would have it, my newly adopted cat, Keissa is even more afraid of thunderstorms than she was. He becomes near catatonic with the first distant rumble of thunder.

    I found this out the hard way when I discovered him balled up tightly under my rocker recliner with me sitting in it. He is declawed so I guess I can be thankful for that. He’s just lucky I didn’t attempt to recline it.

    Now I move him to his kennel with the door open and he stays there for several hours.

    I have no idea what he will do when the fireworks start. I’ve only had him for about six weeks.

  • >>And while you’re waiting for the fireworks to start this week, get your dog tagged and chipped.<<

    A great piece of advice whatever the season.

  • emersonpie

    Last week my wildflower hill was flashing with so many fireflies it looked like Las Vegas. And it was completely silent. My kind of fireworks.

    • Barton

      oh! that would have been glorious to see!

  • Kassie

    Our plan is doggos in the basement, fans on, and something on the TV up loud. It worked pretty well last year. The hard part is finding a break in the booms to get them outside to do their business.

  • Justin McKinney

    We own a boarding kennel and doggie daycare, and we do the same thing every year – bring the pups inside, turn up the music, and distract them as much as possible from the town’s fireworks display. Sadly, this doesn’t help any of the other idiots out blowing up illegal fireworks in their backyards. I’m really not looking forward to the possibility of the fire calls I will get to go to because of things that should be illegal this week.

  • Jeff C.

    Don’t forget about young children who are scared by these things going off in the neighborhood until 2am. They keep my daughter up, which keeps me up.

  • The Resistance

    In addtion to the noise, the level of particulate matter nearly doubles during the peak evening hours of 4th of July. For anyone (humans and animals) with respiratory issues, it is an additional stress.

    And, our firemen and ER docs get extra business during Independence Day as well.

    In some ways, I think fireworks are a perfect symbol for America.
    They’re loud, stupid, inconsiderate, unhealthy, and dangerous.

  • Noelle

    I hate this time of year because of the fireworks, especially when people blow up the huge mortar rounds in the middle of a dense residential neighborhood – it’s incredibly disruptive and rude, and I have some neighbors that shoot them off in the days before and following the 4th, and always after 9-10pm. I’ve started calling the police on them now.

    I also have a cat that’s freaked out by thunderstorms and fireworks, but firework displays are also really terrifying for nearby wildlife.

    • >> I’ve started calling the police on them now.<<

      I might start doing this as well…sometimes I can't tell if they are fireworks or gunshots, either…

      • Noelle

        They shoot off so close to us that we can actually hear the “thunk” sound when the big shell is initially shot up in the air – with our windows closed – and then when it explodes in midair it sounds like an actual explosion because it’s less than a block away. No question what it is for us…

  • John

    I’m pretty disappointed by the lack of dog pictures in this comment thread.

  • Sean Collins

    Answering request(s) for more dog pictures. Here’s more from this stories cover Dog.