Tag Archives: fireworks

Ebony’s story

Ebony's photo

This is Ebony; she was a Chocolate Labrador cross – a deep dark chocolate in colour (not milk chocolate like many Labs).  She was my best friend from 1998, when I adopted her via Dogwatch which facilitated a private adoption, to October 2003, when she suddenly succumbed to cancer of the liver and pancreas.

Ebony was highly reactive to sounds and, particularly, fireworks.  So I think of her a lot around Guy Fawkes celebrations each year.

Each year, I’d go to the vet for a prescription for sedatives and then for many nights around the official celebration, I would have to try to dose her before any fireworks started.  This was easier said than done.  As many of us know, people sometimes set off fireworks even before darkness has fallen.  The label recommended intake within 1 hour before any stimulus…

Most of the time, sedatives weren’t enough.  Copious amounts of Rescue Remedy in her water bowl and sprayed around the house didn’t seem to help much, either.  Ebony would run and pace the house, hyperventilating and salivating.  It was heartbreaking to watch.  Sometimes, I would turn the radio on in the car, which was parked in the garage, and I’d put her in the back seat (as usual) with me in the front pretending that any minute we would be going out for a ride.  But in reality, I was just trying to get as many layers of sound-proofing between us and the fireworks that I could.

Ebony wasn’t fooled, although sometimes our car trips to nowhere did help alleviate some of the sounds.

The bottom line was that when Ebony was over-threshold with fear, there wasn’t much that could be done until the fireworks stopped.

One year, we were woken from a sound sleep when someone decided to light off fireworks.  It was late by our standards, past 10 pm when most families and working people would not be up lighting fireworks on a work night.

Ebony was immediately over-threshold, barking and pacing.  And then she lost control of her bowels in our bed.  She was doubly stressed by this, and I had to strip the bed and put everything in the washing machine and re-make the bed with fresh linens.

Another year, Ebony barked so badly that she suffered a rectal prolapse.  She had literally barked herself inside/out; part of her rectum had come out of the anus.   It was incredibly upsetting for the both of us and I knew she was in pain and discomfort, too.  The vet was able to lubricate the tissue and help replace it back inside and I had to feed a low-irritant food to her for a week to ensure that we gave the area a chance to rest.

I clearly remember after this incident how much noise her digestive system made – gurgling – for days.  Looking back, I’m sure that the stress and digestive upsets she endured because of fireworks had something to do with her succumbing to liver and pancreatic cancer – before she even reached aged 10.

So you might wonder why I’m so passionate about the banning of the private sale of fireworks and now you know.  They hurt my dog many times over and when you hurt my dog, I’m unlikely to forget.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Here we go again…a day of sadness

fireworks sign

Today, 2 November 2017, is the day when fireworks legally go on sale in the name of celebrating Guy Fawkes night aka Bonfire Night (5 November each year).

I’m sad because I know that many dogs, including those of my clients and friends, will be in for a stretch of nights filled with fear and anxiety.

Their human owners will be doing everything they can to manage.  Some will have gone to the veterinarian for sedative drugs which they will need to give before the booming starts, others will be playing music, changing routines to ensure nighttime dog walks are finished before the sun sets, wrapping their dogs in Thundershirts, spraying essential oils to help calm…the list goes on…

And like being in a war, you never know when the next barrage will happen.  It’s not just on Guy Fawkes Night.  It could be tonight, tomorrow.  It could be next week.  It may even be in a month or two for the people who stockpile their fireworks for random use.

Where I grew up, the sale of fireworks was illegal.  Only public displays – properly licensed and advertised in advance – were allowed.   It was more manageable and humane.

I fail to see the reason why the sale of these items is still legal in New Zealand and I haven’t seen a political party (or coalition) yet that is prepared to take a stand on this issue.

I have other arguments against fireworks, including the fact that the waste left over just adds to our landfills and that many fireworks users disrespect our parks by leaving their fireworks packaging and other rubbish overflowing from rubbish bins or, worse, strewn across the park for someone else to pick up.

Today I’m sad because, for the animals, the war is about to begin again.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand