Plenty of people enjoy cookouts and lounging with friends and family to celebrate July Fourth, but then they pop back home before dark for one important reason: to make sure their critters are OK.
You can’t reason with an animal. You can’t make them understand that the loud explosions that sound so terrifying are actually fun and celebratory.
To your pet, the sky is falling, or the world is ending. They grow frantic and do anything they can to get away from the sound and often react in a blind panic, putting themselves at risk.
Different owners swear by different methods. Almost everyone agrees that if it is at all possible, you should bring your pets indoors where they’ll have a buffer from the sound.
Ideally, you would keep them contained in a crate, in some room that is insulated from outdoor noises, and either run a fan, music or white noise. Some dog owners swear by thunder shirts or calming medications, but each dog reacts differently and you really have to know your dog to know what will work best for them.
Heather Terpening refers to herself as an animal control officer on Facebook. In 2017, she encountered a heartbreaking scene that she was compelled to share online in hopes that other dog owners would see and learn.
“I went on a call tonight where the owners were not home and the dog heard fireworks go off and broke though the glass….and hurt herself,” she wrote on May 28, 2017.
“I am posting this as a reminder. If you know your dog freaks out when they hear fireworks and you will not be home over the holiday…please secure your dog in a safe place where they can not hurt themselves. Many people will be setting fireworks off over the holiday.”
The photos are appalling, showing streaks and smears of blood on a sliding glass door and a garage door. Shattered glass and bent metal illustrate just how panicked the dog must have been.
Thankfully, Terpening also reported that while the dog was bleeding and in quite a state, she was alive. She was taken to the shelter where her owner later picked her up.
Some people have called foul on the photos, pointing out that there’s broken glass but the glass door is still there, others claiming that the dog was inside and broke through the glass to get outside, and still others saying the photos were doctored and that a dog couldn’t really do that.
A closer look at the images reveals that the twisted grid was sandwiched between two panes of glass and the dog likely broke the outer pane when it tried to run into the house, leaving the inner pane intact.
Anyone who has had a dog terrified by loud noises knows that something like this could easily happen. Maybe not with a Chihuahua, but the larger the dog, the more possible this sort of scenario could be.
Lenka Perron of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, learned that the hard way in 2018, according to the Detroit Free Press. It wasn’t even the Fourth of July yet when fireworks went off, visible and very audible from her backyard. One of her greyhounds panicked, got out of the yard and started running.
And kept running. The only way they could track him was by following his bloody footprints — he was so scared that he dug his feet into the cement as he ran until he’d torn off three pads and the fourth was barely hanging on.
A mere five minutes later, he was recaptured. He was exhausted and overworked, had broken ribs and was covered in his own blood, feces and urine.
The danger is very real, and pet owners who have experienced the horrors want others to know both how detrimental fireworks use outside of expected hours can be and how important it is to keep your critters safely contained.
Though the post by Terpening is several years old, it is still every bit as relevant, and others have picked up the image and circulated it. The message is clear, though, whatever your opinion on the photos: Keep your pets safe during the holidays.
The Western Journal reached out to Heather Terpening for comment but has not yet received a response.
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