HAPPY 4TH OF JULY
Days before July 4th makes an appearance, fireworks and partying begins. And if July 4th falls early on that long holiday weekend, fireworks and partying continues until it’s time to go back to work.
Fun – mostly – for humans. Misery – mostly – for animals.
Did you know that the one day a year where domestic animals (think cats and dogs) are lost more than any other is the 4th of July?!
This ALSO means that shelters are extra-crowded the next day, and Animal Control’s phones are ringing off the hook. And sadly, many animals die from getting lost (and becoming strays), and/or being hit by cars.
Many well meaning pet owners think it’s nice or ‘cool’ to bring the WHOLE family out together for fireworks and celebrating this holiday in large crowds. Let’s face it, dogs hanging out with people is fun, a conversation starter, a very cool thing to do. But actually, it can be a horrible and tragic experience for your four-legged family members.
It doesn’t take a lot of sense to figure out that the 4th of July is for HUMANS. WE “get” the reason for the loud noises and huge crowds. WE understand that it’s “just noise” and that the parties are for OUR enjoyment.
However pets, although we humanize them to the point of feeling they understand our every thought, action and motive, do NOT “get” or understand anything about the 4th of July, which makes it a very scary and dangerous time for them.
There are many awesome blogs and reminders going around about ways to keep YOUR pet safe and comfortable during this celebration weekend. Below are a few quick, common sense highlights that you can share and keep a look out for – because, yes, even if YOU are keeping YOUR furry friend safe and sound, MANY are NOT. Remember : It’s always okay to speak up and JUST DO SOMETHING if you see an animal in need or in distress. The 4th of July is no different – if YOU see something, take a moment to see how you can help that animal.
Short and sweet – how we can ALL help our pets (or someone else’s) during the 4th of July:
- NEVER bring your pet with you to loud, crowded and unfamiliar functions unless you are 100% prepared for his/her comfort and distress.
- NEVER deliberately expose ANY animal to loud noises, bright lights, and/or huge crowds.
- NEVER play with or light fireworks or fire around an animal.
- NEVER chain your pet near a bonfire.
- NEVER let your pet around strangers – especially if they have been partying.
- NEVER leave your pet in a confined situation for prolonged periods without checking on them every half hour.
- NEVER leave your pet in a car alone for ANY length of time.
- NEVER light fireworks or light fire during drought or too-dry places. It only takes a spark to start a deadly fire.
- DO keep your pets inside and away from celebrations in a familiar place. This means that even animals regularly kept outside should be brought in.
- DO provide food, water, air circulation and background (moderate) noise in that safe, familiar place.
- DO keep pictures of your pet handy in case they accidentally run off (many animals run when frightened).
- DO make sure that your pet has identifying tags on secure collars (not too tight).
- DO make sure your pets are put out earlier in the evening, so they are safely inside before the bulk of celebrating begins.
- DO accompany your pet to go outside when fireworks are going off, so they can potty and stretch feeling safe and less afraid.
PS – Two good articles on what to do if you lose your pet, from PetFinder and from Lost Pet FBI.
The 4th of July is for HUMANS, not animals. If we keep that in mind, then having a safe, fun time for EVERYONE is easy to attain. HUMANS = Yes. Animals = No. It’s that easy; it’s that simple.
And now a word about holidays:
Even on holidays, we are on social media – signing and sharing, spreading awareness, replying to e-mails and endeavoring to make the world a better place, if even for a DAY, for animals in need.
Unfortunately, during holidays (and the nicer weather), many people become MIA when it comes to Animal Advocacy. Sunshine, yard work, pool parties and the like become the highlight, while the sometimes unpleasant “task” of championing for the voiceless takes a back burner.
There is nothing wrong in celebrating holidays and long weekends with friends and family, taking a break from the computer to enjoy warm weather and all the fun that comes with that. But imagine if EVERYONE took a break from advocating during the nice weather or holiday seasons? What then?
Animal suffering doesn’t stop on holidays. Or when the weather warms up (in fact, many animals suffer MORE in the warmer weather for obvious reasons like lack of shade, lack of water, and being left in hot cars). But sometimes, people want to “forget” that and rather, enjoy the summer months without “thinking” about “that kind of thing”.
How wonderful if, during the nicer weather and the warmer long holiday weekends, that we all still made the decision to JUST DO SOMETHING, every day, to better or save the lives of animals in need.
Yep, this means that you may have to actually carve out time from your nice day off work or long holiday weekend to plan for that. My laptop is never far from me when I travel out of town, because even on MY vacations, I always take the time to champion for animals. The great thing about being an Animal Advocate is that a dedicated person can advocate from ANY place, you just have to make the time.
This holiday, have FUN. Enjoy the sunshine, those cold glasses of iced tea on the deck, and special times with friends and family. And, while you’re at it, take a moment or two to enjoy your blessings during your long holiday weekend and remember those who aren’t as blessed. Then take that thought, and do something with it, to positively impact a four-legged someone who is quietly waiting in misery for a better life to come along.
Because they are out there, every day – even on a holiday.
If you have another quick tip for keeping your pet safe and comfortable on a holiday, please let us know! We’ll be happy to share it.
Here’s wishing EVERYONE – two and four-legged alike – a safe and a very Happy 4th of July!