Every year on the fourth of July, people gather together with all the fixings for a barbecue ready to celebrate Independence Day. In lieu of the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, no celebration is complete without a firework display.
While many look forward to marveling at the display of colors that take over the skies, there are some furry friends who couldn’t fear the celebration more. If you have a pet at home, chances are you can vouch for their disapproval of the loud booms and explosions heard overhead.
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It is no secret that animal shelters see an influx of pets around the Fourth of July. They often run away out of fear. Keep your pets safe by keeping windows and doors closed, and get your pet microchipped just in case they get lost. But what about the animals already staying in a shelter?
Instead of going out to celebrate the Fourth of July, a compassionate bunch spent their time comforting shelter animals who were scared of fireworks. The idea came to life thanks to the experimental program called “Calming Companions.” (3)
Comforting Shelter Animals from Fireworks
If your dog or cat shows signs of anxiety in the comfort of their own home, imagine how stressful it can feel in a strange place. Designated to one cage, a whole lot of barking, and with no direct comfort being given – the addition of fireworks can seem even more frightening.
Last year, Arizona’s Maricopa County shelter hosted their “Calming Companions” event where people went to spend time in shelters alongside scared animals during the 4th of July fireworks. After a quick orientation on safety, attendees spend time with sheltered dogs and cats. Volunteers bring their own chairs and offer companionship and entertainment for the animals. Additionally, the shelter provides treats and toys for attendees to give to the furry friends. (3)
Volunteer Amy Engel reacted on the event on Facebook, “Tonight was the first year Maricopa County Animal Shelter presented “Comfort the Canines.” Approximately 200 people came to help the pooches. 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.” (3)
How You Can Help
The outcome of the 2018 event sparked so much interest and success that the shelter has decided to put the event on again this year. Both East and West Valley Animal Care Centers in Maricopa County will be participating in “Calming the Canines.” The event runs from 8pm-10pm encourages individuals in the community to bring a chair, yoga mat, or something comfortable to sit on front of kennels. Volunteers are encouraged to spend their time giving animals treats, singing, and handing out toys. (2)
If comforting shelter animals leaves you wanting to be nowhere else this Fourth of July, check with your local shelter to see if they offer events like Maricopa County’s, “Calming the Canines.”