I realized a few years back that I didn’t care to celebrate the fourth of July as I had when I was younger. I used to love the fireworks and getting together with friends and family, and I still love the latter part, but less so the fireworks. I’m not sure when it changed completely. I quit liking to set them off myself quite awhile ago. I was plenty happy to let others do it. We’d watch the big ones the town set off, and those were lovely, but in the last couple of years, we haven’t gone.
Some of that has to do with the dogs. As they’ve grown older, they’ve handled the fireworks less and less well. We got two puppies last year, and they were fine for the fireworks outside then, but this year, not so much.
The corgis handled the noise pretty well, but our heeler . . . oh boy. On the 3rd, he went outside before bed and we could hear popping of fireworks in the distance. He came inside, seemed fine, and we got him into his crate. I finished getting ready for bed and walked past the crates and smelled the smell. You know the one.
He’d vomited. Before we could get him out, he vomited again, and he was snapping at me when I tried to clean it up. We then moved him to the bathtub so we could clean him up because he’d got stuff smeared on him, and he vomited again. Moved him into the little side room with the shower and toilet. Two more times.
I sent my husband to take him downstairs where the noise would be less, then rousted my kids out of bed and closed up the windows of the house, turned on the AC and several loud fans for white noise. But Merlin (the dog) didn’t like downstairs and came up to the Great Room which is where he wanted to be. He got sick another five or six times, plus pooped. He snapped at my husband and there was bleeding and much bruising. We couldn’t get any medication into him because he couldn’t keep it down.
Finally we turned on the TV to music and just sat with him until he calmed some. He drank some water and we were able to feed him an anti-anxiety pill and get him to bed.
On the fourth, we started in with the anti-anxiety stuff at 6:30 when we first started hearing fireworks, and then also gave him some melatonin (recommended by a vet). We gave him more of the anti-anxiety stuff several times throughout the night, plus played with him and had lots of noise going, and he got through it.
The next day I called the vet, who gave us a prescription of something that was more of a sedative. Gave him that when the noise started, and then he acted like he was on crack the rest of the night. Wanted to play play play. We’d run him all three days as much as he would in order to exhaust him, but he’d located a hidden pocket of energy. Either that, or the vet accidentally prescribed him speed.
Celebrating the fourth this year comes with a solemnity surrounding us having concentration camps, having taken so many rights from women, and so much more. I did not feel celebratory in any way. But after the night of the third, I’d just as soon skip the whole thing. And it made me worry the whole time about veterans who were suffering through it in a similar fashion and hoping they had noise cancelling headphones on or shooting earmuffs to kill the sounds.
It’s funny, but of course the fireworks represent the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, which is war. And it’s ugly and scary for a great many people and animals. I hadn’t fully understood the depth of the fear before, and I probably still don’t, but I definitely have a better idea.