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What the 4th of July Means to Me

July 1, 2011

For you humans in America, this 4th of July will mean celebrating the birth of the United States with road trips, parties, picnics, cookouts and, of course, fireworks. To me, it will mean wishing the USA a happy 235th birthday while hunkering down in my house. You see, in my neighborhood, where fireworks are legal, the hours from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM are like the “shock-and-awe” phase of the invasion of Baghdad. I mean my neighbors go in for some serious artillery… and lots of it. All night long, the sound is like hundreds of large canons firing and bombs dropping – repeatedly and incessantly – mixed with constant small-arms fire. The air becomes thick with the smoke and smell of spent gunpowder.

Now I enjoy fireworks as much as the next person, but they totally freak out my dog, Pepper. When she was young, I took her to a cookout on the 4th. All was going well until someone shot off a simple firecracker. She was so upset that she pooped next to the food serving table. I picked up the poop, apologized for the mess and dragged the quivering furball to the car in which she drooled constantly all the way home. That’s when I knew we had a problem and I also knew that Independence Day festivities were no longer a possibility for me.

On the evening of July 3rd, two years ago when Pepper was 13-1/2, I took her out to do her business. I allowed myself to become distracted for a few minutes by the small fireworks that the neighbors were shooting off. When I turned to take Pepper back into the house, she was nowhere to be found. I searched for her high and low for three days and, out of sheer luck, finally found her 2-1/2 miles away in a ritzy neighborhood on the other side of the nuclear plant. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through out in the wild during the night of the 4th all by herself.

Pepper is now 110 in dog years and another anxiety attack from the fireworks could give her a heart attack. So, I will feed her early on the 4th and try to get her pooped and peed out by about 6:30 PM. Then we will stay in our bomb shelter for the night with the TV turned up to drown out the explosions. Hopefully, by 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning the revellers will have passed out from all their partying and will have run out of ammunition. If so, I will be able to take Pepper out one last time before going to bed. Then all will be well until New Year’s Eve when we will go through this again if Pepper is still with me in six months.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 8, 2011 11:44 PM

    Yes I know how you feel. I know they used to scare Rosie so badly when she was alive. My heart breaks to think about it now. The “stray” that we have outside now seems to be ok with them and thunder and lightening. If he is scared it doesn’t seem to be too much. Darla barks as if a terrible intruder is coming in and she can chase him. If Molly and Luna are here then they join in the barking. The cat of course is scared to death.

    Our neighbors not only set off fireworks the night before the 4th but for hours on end on the 4th.

    I feel so sorry for what I know a lot of animals go through because of them.

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