It’s our normal tradition to get the family together for a barbeque every 4th of July. This normally includes my mom and step-dad, my two brothers, my husband Jesse’s parents, his brother as well as our family dog, Chewy and his “uncle” – a miniature pincher named Louie. We get together to share stories and enjoy each other’s company as the smell of smoke and barbeque sauce fills the air.
As evening wore on and it began to get dark, the family all decided to go up to the house to watch a movie together to pass the time before the big fireworks displays began in our neighborhood.
During the middle of the movie, my husband, Jesse, decided to take Chewy out for a quick potty break. Now, you must understand that Chewy is a well-trained dog…he always comes when called. This is why Jesse thought nothing leaving Chewy off leash while they went outside.
It was supposed to be a quick in and out deal.
While Jesse and Chewy were outside, they both heard a loud bang followed by a bright explosion of light in the sky. Someone had set off a huge firecracker near our home and spooked the pants off of both Jesse and Chewy.
Chewy was so freaked out by the explosion that he bolted right out of the yard and into a nearby field before my husband had time to react. Jesse panicked and called out for Chewy to return but it was too late! Chewy was nowhere to be found.
Fearing that Chewy would get lost or hit by a car, Jesse rushed back into the house and explained to us what had happened. We all quickly set out to look for our poor lost dog and after hours of searching, there was still no sign of our little guy.
Around 11:30 pm my cell phone rang. When I answered the call, a pleasant female voice on the other end asked me if I had lost my dog. I couldn’t believe it – Chewy was found!
She explained that she and her daughter were just leaving the shopping mall a few blocks away from our house when they happened upon a furry black dog in the parking lot.
Though he seemed a bit frightened, he was quite friendly and when she called to him, he hesitantly came near enough for her to be able to see that he had a collar. Eventually she was able to coax him into allowing her to hold him so she could make out the information on his dog tag and give me a call.
Now, luckily MY story had a happy ending, but did you know that more dogs are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year?
It’s so common that animal shelter personnel commonly refer to these lost pets as of “July 4th” dogs.
Tips to Avoid Having Your Pet Become a “July 4th Dog”
Best Case Scenario: Leave your pets at home. Be sure to place them in a well-secured area, as some pets will become destructive if spooked. Remove any items nearby that could be damaged. It’s also a good idea to leave the radio or television on to help muffle outside noise.
If you decide to take them with you, don’t leave your pets in the car. Leaving the windows cracked is not enough to keep the temperature inside a car down for your dog especially during the hot summer months.
Never leave your pets unattended even if they’re fenced in or on a chain or leash. Like Chewy, pets may try to escape if frightened and could become entangled on their leash causing injury or even death.
ALWAYS make sure that all your pets have current identification tags on so that if they do become lost, they can quickly be returned to you.
Use Rescue Remedy on your pets to help calm them during stressful situations. Bach flower remedies such as Rescue Remedy are great for pets and people too. They can be used to naturally help relieve anxiety, stress and fearfulness during loud fireworks displays.
I hope these tips help you keep your pets safe and sound this and every Fourth of July!
Amber Keiper is the Marketing Coordinator and Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. She and her husband have two former rescue animals that are now healthy and proud “BARF brats” – a terrier mix named Chewbacca (“Chewy”) and a tabby mix named Chiquita (“Chiqui”). For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet monthly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.