Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Who actually ends bonfire night feeling fulfilled by the excitement offered by crackling fires and whizz-popping fireworks.  Not me.  At large, I come home feeling a bit cold and a bit disappointed that they only lasted so long or were too far apart or simply that the council spent that much on a firework display when there is an awful lot more that needs to be achieved in the local area than fireworks dancing in time to the James Bond Theme.

As a child, I remember my favourite bonfire party ever being the one run by the people down the road because they let me sit in their house and eat crisps whilst watching the fireworks through the patio doors.  I didn't like bangs, they made me jump! 

I might have had the get-up but I wasn't always a huge fan of the outdoors, even as a child!

It is for this reason that I totally sympathise with Caesar, who doesn't like bangs either!  The problem with dogs is, unlike humans who are scared of fire works (like me), they are not able to go "Oof - scared the life out of me, that one!" and have a bit of a laugh at their own expense.  Instead, like a tiny infant, they're trapped in their own body.  Confused by the alien noises and petrified by the possibilities they hold.  
"Don't fuss your dog," many instructions say.  This, is one of the most difficult things to adhere to.  Caesar will sit like a shivering wreck on the carpet.  He comes over and stands close by quivering and shaking.  Sometimes he runs around.  We close the curtains, put the TV on loud, he's already wearing his thunder shirt but we cannot escape from the sounds.

What was that noise?!

Last year it got too much.  Our house has single glazing and is in the centre of a fairly busy town.  The noises outside were non-stop and our neighbours were having their own fireworks party.  Fireworks whizzed past every window in the house before exploding noisily and with each one the shaking got worse.  Tears rushed to my eyes as I watched him run from the door to the chair and into the corners.  Trying to escape the inescapable.

I finally picked up the phone.  "What are the fireworks like near your house?" I asked.  Knowing that I would have to risk getting Caesar from the house and into the car.  "Not bad at all came the answer."  I knew what I had to do.

The fireworks there were not bad at all.  However, the occasional noises sparked another reaction.  Eventually, my dad stood up and disappeared.  He came back with a solution.  One that isn't advertised in magazines or dog psychology articles but it worked just the same...

Helpful Bits:
RSPCA advice on fireworks for pet owners:

Thundershirt website - Advice about how this special piece of clothing can reduce a dogs stress levels during difficult times such as thunderstorms and fireworks.

If your pet does have a major firework phobia, it is worth speaking to your vet as they can give advice and sometimes medication to help.