Dogs are usually the ones who give comfort and calmness whenever we’re stressed and anxious. Except when there’s a thunderstorm or when fireworks are being blasted off to the sky in pretty colors. It’s a fun sight for us humans, but a terrible experience for most of our four-legged friends who have a higher sense of hearing. With fireworks shows happening on major holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Independence Day, dogs tend to cower under the bed and hide. Fireworks scare our pets to the point that they suffer from panic attacks which causes them to shake, tremble and shiver. The loud noise and flashes of light can make dogs anxious. Most dogs have homes and humans to calm them down, but shelter dogs aren’t as lucky, with limited space in their cages, no human friends to help them and no place to hide.
To help shelter dogs relax during the 4th of July holiday, volunteers organized “Calming the Canines”, an event that took place at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) Shelters in Phoenix, Arizona, with the purpose of keeping shelter dogs calm during the noisiest day of the year. We still don’t know the official numbers this year’s edition, but in 2018 this new Independence Day tradition brought in 300 local volunteers.
When the event was first announced to the public last year, the organizers didn’t know how people would respond, but when hundreds of people attended the event and the dogs relaxed to the point of sleeping, they knew they had to continue this wonderful tradition.
Some volunteers sang and read to the animals at the shelter, some chose to just pet the dogs, play with them a bit and give them treats. The dogs loved all the attention, and the stress during the fireworks just disappeared. Sometimes volunteers bond with the shelter dogs and come back the following days to adopt them.
Let’s just hope this beautiful act of kindness will become a tradition in many other shelters around the country.