Bridging the Divided

Post July 4th…..

Cute Yorkie! It’s not one of ours, tho…..

Another July 4th in the books. Our dogs didn’t fare too badly until the fireworks were exploding in earnest. I don’t know about your area, but fireworks are allowed during the week leading up to July 4th. On the date of America’s Independence, our neighborhood is a full blown 360 degree fireworks display. 

Last year, COVID dampened celebrations across the nation. Families were less likely to gather, many fireworks displays were canceled. So, this year, I was happy people who love to paint the sky with vibrant sparkles could congregate with friends and family. Our dogs were not as happy.

Rowdie, our oldest Yorkie, weighing three-pounds soaking wet, is ‘Billy-badass’ on our side of the fence when the neigbor’s dogs, who together likely weigh 300 lbs, are let out to potty. But, let a lone firecracker detonate within three city blocks and the little guy cowers in a corner of the bedroom. For a solid week, I timed taking him out to potty between pops and crackles. Once the pops and crackles were firing in earnest, Rowdie waited to potty until the next morning. Poor little guy, I felt sorry for him, but what is a dog mom to do? 

The other three Yorkies weren’t bothered by the momentary pops and crackles throughout the day, but on the night of July 4th, the page turned. We stepped outside at dusk to watch as the sky lit up, foolishly thinking Char, Tasia, and Kaiah would do their business then join us on the deck. Nope. All three immediately returned to the safety of our home and stood at the door, their brown eyes pleading for us to come inside. Scientists say we assign human emotion to our animals, but I think we read them pretty well. The big brown eyes of the Yorkies watching from inside seemed to say, “it’s not safe out there, please come in!” We watched fireworks for about ten minutes, then retreated to the bedroom, four Yorkies in tow. We climbed in bed, they burrowed under the covers, and we watched  Phantom of the Opera. I had never seen it before. I’m not much for musicals, but as musicals go, it was entertaining.

Dogs, like humans, experience varying reactions to life events. I know people, veterans, for whom the holiday is torture. Odd, isn’t it, that the very holiday celebrating hard won freedom is so dreaded? I get it – PTSD is real for people and animals. One of our daughters has a Great Pyrenees who climbed in the shower with her fiance when the fireworks were flying. Poor baby. His soulful eyes spoke volumes in the picture my daughter snapped. The gentle, beautiful giant was terrified. 

Until next year and another July 4th rolls around, keep those puppies safe!

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