We are having a fantastic Fourth of July . . . it’s the first time in months that we’ve all been home, just us, and been able to peacefully, quietly co-exist as a family. Of course all the dogs – that don’t have homes are never far from our minds.
But here’s a surprising statistic we didn’t know before: More pets are lost on July 4th than any other time, and July 5th is often the busiest day of the year for many shelters. Wow!
Did you notice that Labrador Retrievers are the #1 breed found having run away from home in shelters. We’re assuming that has to do with Labs being the #1 breed in America; there’s more of us, so it stands to reason. But still!!
There are also theories that it’s not necessarily the noise that scares dogs during fireworks, but could be the smell of smoke, powder, chemicals – whatever it is they do that makes fireworks go BOOM! Regardless of what makes ’em scary, they just ARE.
Barclay became a Buck-White Boy in October, 2009, so in July of 2010 he would have been about 10 months old for his first Fourth of July. He looked a little like this (taken 7/19/10):
What a stinker. Well, Barclay’s predecessor, Duncan, was a nervous nellie on Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve (one year we had to carry him, drugged out of his mind on doggie downers, up the stairs like a sack of wet potatoes). As we’ve learned more about dogs, we’re less and less likely to drug them . . .
So, boom, first fireworks. Tucker and Barclay lose it — barking, running, panting. The dads just stayed still, kept reading and said not a word. Second boom, third boom and bottle rockets going off in the street. Barking, barking, running, panting, bark . . . bar . . . . buh? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The calmer dads were, the calmer the dogs were.
The trick is not to reassure the anxiety. No, “It’s ok Barclay.” None of, “Stop it, Tucker, it’ll be ok.” Just. Act. Normal. (And that’s a big goal in this house). It took a little time but everybody settled right down, relaxed and we had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July. Since then, fireworks have been zero problems for the Buck-White Boys.
But this year we have excitable, goofy Oliver . . . we have no idea how he’ll react, but the plan’s the same. Calm, cool dads = calm, cool dogs.
Keep your loved ones safe and close. Have a wonderful Fourth. Keep an eye out for your pets and others today and tomorrow.