Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thank God She's Deaf as a Post

I love a national holiday/day off work as much as the next person, but I have to admit: I really don't like the Fourth of July much. Not my favorite. Not at all. I used to love going to see the fireworks, eating the hotdogs, etc, but over the years I've grown to get positively grumpy about it.

It all started when I got Georgia, the OD (Original Dog)--that's her on my lap. Georgia has, er had rather, an extreme fear of loud noises. Thunder. Gunfire (heh). Fireworks especially. Hers was not a "oh I'm scared so I'll just huddle right here next to you" kind of fear. It was more like twelve straight hours of trembling so hard she'd drool all over herself kind of fear. It was heartwrenching to watch and...kind of disgusting too (lots and lots of drool, did I mention??). And it seemed like no matter where I lived, I was surrounded by people who could not get enough of setting off bottle rockets in the neighborhood. So, for many years, my Fourth of July consisted of dosing my dog with Valium (no, really) and not going anywhere far. As you can imagine, my like of the holiday waned and my hostility towards people with fireworks grew.

Then I started doing the dog rescue thing and I can tell you non-rescue people that this weekend and the next couple of weeks are going to be some of the busiest days of our rescue year. You know why? Dogs do not like fireworks. Not even a little bit. Plus, lots of folks go out of town for the weekend. The combo of those two things results in lots of dogs trying to escape the noise and stress with little or no supervision. Those stressed out dogs are going to dig and run, with some of them ending up in the Pokey. And sometimes, in worst case scenarios, there are asshats who will drop their dogs at the shelter before they go out of town, not wanting to deal with making arrangements for the dog's care. Believe me, I've seen it happen, over and over. You think, "Who would do that??" Let me tell you: lots of people. Not people I know or care about, but lots of 'em. The shelters get overrun this time of year. Then they have to start euthanizing to keep up with the demand for space. So, the pressure on rescue groups to get dogs out (and fast) skyrockets right about now. Mind you, our money and resources don't change at all (and in fact things slow down because nobody gives to charity in the middle of July), but we're called upon to do a lot more.

Yeah, I hate this time of year.

But hey! Don't let me get you down. In one bright note, Georgia is deaf as a doorknob these days, so she can't hear those bottle-rocket throwing turdlets. She'll be spending her Fourth like she does every day: sleeping like a coma patient.

Just do me a favor. If you have a dog, use some common sense around the holiday. Even if your dog is an outdoor dog and normally doesn't try to jump the fence, consider some extra precautions. And if you get a chance, think about dropping by some supplies (like rawhides or kongs) for dogs at your local shelter. They need some comfort. And if you ever considered volunteering, do it now.

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