We are finally in the season where fruit tastes like fruit and vegetables taste like vegetables. You know what I mean. Some of those “box store” apples and melons and berries taste like … well, they taste like nothing. As if the flavor was sucked out and a preservative was shot in. They “look” fabulous, but that’s where the fabulous ends.
(This morning it was 90 degrees before it even hit 10:30 AM. We are in for a challenging week. Full disclosure, I am sitting inside my house at a perfectly cooled temperature, but I know it’s almost dangerously hot outside).
We drove by the river and saw dozens of folks in the sand bars, desperate for some relief. The rivers are still running high this early in the year. I can’t help but hold my breath as we go by as if that could magically keep everyone safe. But I do it. My superstition is much more powerful than my indifference.
I took a walk at Nisqually earlier today. It was a delight, as it always is, but I’m dragging a bit. Last night was another “fireworks show” at the vendor area near the casino up the hill. It’s 90 minutes of constant explosions that rattle the windows on our 25 year old house.
Our boy was fine, early in the evening, but as “the show” amped up he was desperate to be free of his sleep crate. He charges down the stairs but there’s no escape and no relief. These early weeks of summer have become something to endure. I see nothing at all worthy of this painfully loud “celebration”.
If it were one night, we could plan. If there were a start and an end, we could get far, far away from the raging rockets and aerial explosions. I don’t remember our terrier being this afraid in his younger days, but he cannot be consoled. I just want to hold him tight but I don’t know when it will begin or end. Like a locomotive that jumps the tracks. I can’t see it coming.
So what is it about dogs and fireworks ? I want to understand it so I know how to help him. He’s 12 and a half. His hearing seems perfectly fine. We’ve tried everything it seems: Thundershirt, white noise machine, cbd. I even spent some time trying to reward him with treats each time he failed to respond to a loud “boom”. He isn’t fooled.
Two years ago I got a prescription from the vet but I could not give it to him. I read about it and then tucked it away deep in the cupboard. Maybe you’re wondering why ? Let me tell you. There are two common “drugs” used to treat noise anxiety in dogs. SILEO, which prevents specific reactions in the nervous system and TRAZADONE, which is an anti-psychotic drug in the tranquilizer family. Both come with a long list of side-effects and both can be deadly if not dosed correctly.
I just can’t do that to him.
Some dogs are terrified of fireworks. More dogs go missing on the Fourth of July than on any other day. Their sense of hearing is more acute than ours. Not only do they experience a wider frequency they hear sounds from further away. I know how jarring these explosions can be for me, imagine hearing them in a frequency that makes them seem louder. Closer. Sheesh.
Fireworks are also unpredictable in every way. Your dog won’t know when or where the sounds are coming from and from that perspective all loud sounds are perceived as a threat.
It may also be possible that your dog is feeling somehow trapped. As the explosions become more alarming, the sympathetic nervous system ( the fight, flight or freeze response) kicks in and this is often when the unbecoming behaviors kick in too. (Property destruction, running away … )
The drug SILEO is designed to prevent certain reactions in the nervous system. So does this mean that my dog would experience it all without being able to respond ? Good lord.
Fireworks have been around for 2000 years. The bamboo shoots tossed in the fire by the Chinese alchemists in 200 BC to discover the secret to eternal life are nothing like what we see today. Originally discovered “by accident” they have morphed into something infused with chemicals to make the colors brighter, the explosion louder. Oh, and did I mention that those chemicals are toxic to the environment ? (How could they not be ?)
The fireworks “business” is a billion dollar a year industry. (1.3 billion in 2019 ). For you numbers folks, that equates to roughly 268 million pounds of fireworks, or one pound for every man, woman and child in America. They cause over 19,000 fires every year and upwards of 12,000 injuries.
It’s 103 degrees right now with no rain in sight for days. The little city I live in is tinder. My little boy is snoozing comfortably, but that could change at any moment. The air quality is dropping, the fire danger rising.
Can someone please tell me why we have to “celebrate” in this way ? I’m looking for real comments and real feedback.