Fireworks, which are traditionally a major part of the 4th Of July Independance Day celebrations are being avoided by many Americans this year due to the negative impact they have on dogs.
Fireworks are a traditional part of most celebratory festivals. The 4th of July evening, New Years at midnight, Guy Fawkes Night in the UK to name a few, all have fireworks as a major part of the revelry and merrymaking.
But air pollution is not the only reason these volunteers are avoiding fireworks this Independence Day for, they are doing it for the sake of dogs and other animals who get absolutely terrified by the noise and lights that accompany them.
Maricopa County Animal Control is looking for volunteers to help comfort scared shelter animals during & after Thursday's fireworks shows. The shelter has 2 locations around Phoenix, Arizona. The event’s called Calming the Canines🐾🐾🐾For more info visit https://t.co/jRiBiXa8Ba pic.twitter.com/jJMRQ2KEld— Arctic Friend (@FriendEden100) July 4, 2019
'Calming the Canines' is an initiative-event started by Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC). The event requires volunteers to take time out of their day to spend with the homeless dogs, which will involve calming and petting the frightened animals during the hectic celebrations. They reported that last year, more than 300 people showed up at their two shelters in Arizona to volunteer for the animals and to publicly display their refusal to use fireworks and crackers.
“It was overwhelming to see how the community responded,” Ben Swan, the shelter’s development director, said in a press release. “It really helped spread our message that MCACC is here to help.”
Amy Engel, a volunteer who runs the AZ Dawg Saverz Facebook page attended the event last 4th of July and is planning on doing so this year as well. She wrote about her experience on Facebook describing the day with much detail.
"Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats!. "It was so, so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside," she said.
𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡𝐲 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐥𝐨𝐠 𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐭: How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Stress-Free During 4th of July Fireworks— Healthy Canines, Inc. (@Healthy_Canines) July 3, 2019
Here are some helpful tips for calming your dog’s anxiety and keeping them safe during the holiday.
The MCACC also said, "Many participants developed lasting relationships with the shelter, returning to provide foster care, adopt a pet or volunteer". That means that this event isn't necessarily a one-time thing. Most volunteers who show up on the 4th of July end up coming back multiple times to spend time with their furry friends who they love so much.
The organization also recommends that all dog-owners keep their pets indoors as much as possible during the most intense hours of the Independence Day celebrations that are almost upon us.
The absolute highlight of my day/ week/ month has been meeting Buster and Ripples from the brilliant Calming Canines. Thanks to the staff at work who organised their visit for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. It was absolutely wonderful escapsim.— Vicky Iglikowski-Broad (@vicky_ig) May 15, 2019
Following the success of last year's event, the animal shelter has put together some pointers that would help other shelters start such events of their own. The shelters requested volunteers to bring blankets to sit or lie on, folding chairs and to let the dog or cat calmly approach them so they could sit quietly next to it and keep them reassured and warm.
This year, the staff working at the shelter said that they expect even more meaningful connections to be made between the people and the animals and that they hope that nothing but sheer kindness would be spread to the individuals who need it, and that's something definitely worth celebrating.
Thank you to the 300+ volunteers who rung in the New Year at Calming the Canines! We were honored to be able to keep the caffeine flowing. https://t.co/CaxEhpySJ3— Pet Club (@thepetclub) January 2, 2019
It's indeed a sad reality that so many animals all around the country have been abandoned and forced to live in these shelters. Taking nothing away from the truly magnificent work that the volunteers and staff do at these shelters, the look on the faces of the animals as their volunteers depart following the day's work says it all.
No pup wants to be unloved and uncared for. However, it's even crueler to make them suffer and live in fear. That's exactly how they feel when around fireworks and crackers. They simply cannot resonate with that as it directly affects their nervous systems.