Pets deserve reprieve from Independence Day

Sharna Johnson

Sharna Johnson

By Sharna Johnson

Local columnist

It’s pretty cool that Americans took a stand and declared their independence, laying claim to their unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — it’s an understandable reason and definite cause for celebration.

A day off work for remembrance, fireworks, barbecues, enjoying the company of other Americans are all part of reveling in the freedoms the forefathers so diligently fought for, and won.

There are many, serious and important things gained by those sacrifices, and there are some fun and simple things gained as well, among them, the choice and ability to keep and indulge in pets.

They, of course, enjoy our freedoms without even knowing it and share in the American way of life right along side us.

If things had gone differently, Fido might not have that cushy pet bed, or parks to romp in, and the kitty might be skulking around back porches looking for scraps instead of sunning in the window.

But of course they have no way of knowing how differently things could have gone, and, they have no appreciation for the fireworks that erupt in the heavens each summer, to the contrary, it is possibly the one day a year that comes closest to an apocalypse.

If faced with the horrors of fire in the sky, popping explosions all around and the shrieks and thunderous clapping of humans, any pet with half a brain and even the smallest opportunity is going to run for shelter. In fact, the truly brave among them will not be stymied by lack of opportunity and will go through windows, chew through wood fences and bust through any obstacle to save themselves, because it is the logical thing to do.

Certainly there are those placid and nonplused pets who will show no signs of trauma — kudos for them — but it is most considerate and loving to not test them at all.

Include them in Christmas, make a turkey cake to celebrate their whelpday, dress them in green and let them play Irish, but Independence Day really is best reserved as a human holiday and one the pets deserve reprieve from.

While making plans for company or away-from-home adventures this Fourth, make sure to plan for pets too.

Guidance from experts (visit www.petmd.com for a list of helpful tips) includes:
· Don’t take pets to fireworks displays. Leave them at home.

· Bring pets indoors early in the evening, preferably before the skies erupt. As much as possible, make accommodations for them in a room that is insulated from noise. Provide their favorite toys to help them work out stress and occupy their minds.

· Don’t leave pets in vehicles. They can still hear and see all the terrifying things going on and on top of it, could suffer from injury or death in the July heat.

· If you plan to be out of town, make arrangements that guarantee your pet will be sheltered from the sights and sounds of the evening.

· If a pet has demonstrated extreme fear in the past and there is concern they might harm themselves, work with a veterinarian for possible solutions to keep them safe.

· Be sure your pet has clear identification in the event they do make a break for it.
Celebrate freedom, pig out on good eats, enjoy the day, revel in the light of the fireworks and give the pets a break – they’ll appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: insearchofponies@gmail.com