Arizona Community Reaches Out To Shelter Pets Terrified Of Fireworks On July 4


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Loud noises, rowdy guests and open doors and windows can be an unpleasant combination for your pet. Especially if your dog or cat is terrified of fireworks. It’s the main reason why July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters across the U.S., The Animal Rescue Site reports.

Fireworks Can Terrify Pets

 

This dog looks very afraid of fireworks
Image by Brett_Hondow via Pixabay, Creative Commons

Fortunately, dogs and cats in a Maricopa County, Arizona were kept company by kind people so they wouldn’t have to be alone during the loud, scary fireworks displays, The Dodo reports. Jose Santiago, a public information officer with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, knew the stressful holiday was coming up, so he decided to put up a special request to visit the two local shelters on Independence Day.

He wanted to make sure there’d be folks to help the dogs get through what can be a tough day for some.

“Shelters can be a very stressful place for animals,” he told The Dodo. “When you add the loud noises of exploding fireworks, that makes them even more anxious. We asked ourselves ‘What can we do to make this night as calm for them as possible?'”

And the community responded. More than 100 volunteers showed up at the two shelters within the county. Youngsters read their favorite storybooks to the doggos, while others brought guitars or ukeleles to serenade them.

Volunteers helped keep the fear of fireworks at bay
Image by Maricopa County Animal Care and Control via The Dodo

Just petting the dogs helped them deal with the fireworks

“We could see as people talked to the dogs and stroked their fur, their eyes were getting heavier and heavier,” Santiago said. “Many would lay down right at their kennel’s edge and fall asleep. That right there speaks volumes to how important the human touch is for those animals.”

The shelter usually allows volunteers to walk and play with the dogs, but the staff knew the kennels were the safest place for the animals while fireworks were going off. The loud explosions can make a dog panic and want to run away. So the pooches were settled into their kennels by 7 p.m. to

Shelters are overloaded with animals chased from their homes by fireworks
Image by Rachel Opperman/Facebook via The Dodo

“We also had volunteers walking around spraying a bit of lavender oil [which promotes relaxation], and had classical music playing through the speakers,” Santiago added. “All of those things, in combination with the volunteers, really helped.”

Santiago notes the “Calming Canines” event was an experiment, but it was a success. Which means the shelter will do this again on New Year’s Eve and the following Independence Day.

 

It was a lovely way to comfort animals scared of fireworks

And volunteers made themselves comfortable as well, One Green Planet reports, bringing chairs and blankets to sit on while they spent time with the dogs. And the staff provided toys, treats, and games that kept the dogs and cats busy so that the fireworks didn’t frighten them so.

Image by Maricopa County Animal Care and Control via The Dodo

Santiago also hoped the event was a chance to do a little matchmaking — meaning these sweet pets might be adopted.

“We’re so grateful to the community for their help with this,” he said. “They’ve proven that when we put the call out, they’ll step forward time and time again. We’re hopeful that those who showed up to do this will be encouraged to volunteer throughout the year, and were also inspired to adopt.”

Because pets may run away when they hear fireworks, Santiago said it’s also a good idea to have them microchipped. The shelter was already being overwhelmed with calls from panicked owners whose dogs had run away, scared by all the noise.

Fireworks can freak out even the calmest dog or cat

Along with microchipping, pets should be kept inside when it gets loud. If your dog or cat is afraid of fireworks, it’s crucial to provide comfort because they don’t understand why all this is happening, and it can be terrifying for them. They can hear the terrible noise, but can’t see what they are up against.

“There’s nothing to fight, so they’re going to run to try and get safe,” said Vickie Grantz, Executive Director of the Enid Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, per The Animal Rescue Site. “They will do anything. They will dig out, they will climb over, they will injure themselves to get away. If some kid in your neighborhood is shooting off some kind of firework and it lands by your fence, they will do almost anything to try and get away because they don’t understand what’s happening.”

It’s heartwarming to know these kind people helped keep these shelter pets calm during such a noisy storm. If this is something you’re interested in doing or wish to adopt, you can contact the shelter here.

Featured image by Amy Engel for Facebook via The Dodo

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