Noise-sensitive pets, terrified by the booms and bangs of fireworks during Independence Day celebrations, will panic and run like the wind to escape the terrifying, unfamiliar loud booms and bangs. This sad situation of run-away pets happens every year following the Fourth.
If owners do not look for their lost pets at the municipal shelter at 360 Hill St., the consequences may be tragic. Either the pets may be adopted to new homes following the shelter's "hold time," or, if the tiny shelter becomes filled with no more kennels available, euthanization may be the sad recourse.
Overcrowding is a major danger in an animal shelter. Stress can ensue for the scared pets in this place so strange to them. Then their immune systems can weaken. Spreading diseases, with fatal outcomes, can result.
Yet, many pets' lives will be saved if animal control officers find them wandering and lost and get them safely confined at the shelter. If they are not spotted straying by an officer they may meet other dangers such as getting hit by a vehicle on a roadway or being attacked by other dogs. But the life-saving key, of course, will occur only if the pet's owners then look daily at the shelter to see if he/she is there.
Don't just make phone calls to the shelter. There may be l0 other pets there that look just like yours.
One story about a poor elderly little Shih tzu I can't forget. Her family had visitors. Children were in and out of the doors. The little dog ran out an opening door just as fireworks began booming. She fled and kept running. She did not return home.
Her devastated family did find her after a short time about a block from their home. But she was dead, apparently due to a heat stroke or heart attack.
If a pet is frightened of thunder you can probably be assured he/she will be even more terrified by fireworks. One of the best ways to protect our four-legged family members is to put them in a pleasant room with their beds, toys, water and a few treats. Turn a radio on and keep the door closed until Fourth celebrations have definitely ended.
If you have an outdoor pet, make sure you bring him/her indoors until no more fireworks are going off. A scared pet will climb a fence or dig out of a yard in a heartbeat if panicked by fireworks or thunder.
Always keep an identification tag on a pet's collar and get he/she microchipped. These are top safeguard for pets that too many owners fail to recognize.
If a pet does get lost check daily at the shelter, post flyers, run a free Banner classified ad under Lost & Found, tell neighbors, especially neighborhood children, post flyers in your neighborhood and veterinary hospitals and tell your mail carrier.
Although I've never used medications to ease pets' anxieties, if you have a major problem with an easily frightened pet you may want to ask your veterinarian about recommending an anti-anxiety medication to get everybody through the Fourth with ease.
Paws up this week to: the Banner's Donna Kaylor; Rachel Veazy of Dames for Danes; Chris and Terena Walker; Terry Templin; David Adams; and all who adopted a shelter pet and saved a precious life.
To reach the shelter, 479-2122. Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, 728-5414.