Fourth of July is a fun and exciting holiday for many, but for others it can be a frightening time. While we don’t want to deter you from celebrating this year, we hope to bring some awareness to the struggles many face in hopes of limiting stress for both our human and animal community.
First, let’s start with the obvious safety concerns when it comes to pets during 4th of July celebrations. Each year many people share social media posts about how to keep your pet safe during the holiday. Hundreds of pets go missing or run away each year, typically from startling noises made by fireworks. Nervous pets, or those with a traumatic past can be easily startled by loud noises, especially when they have no idea where the sound is coming from.
Even if you have a very confident, well-socialized dog, accidents can still happen. Please plan adequate time the week before the big bash to create a plan to keep your pet safe. Consider purchasing calming pet products such as CBD, a Thundershirt, asking your vet for a sedative, or creating a quiet and safe place in your house where your pets can relax. Make sure your yard is secure, and if you do not have a fenced-in area, relieve your dog on leash just to be safe. Additionally, should your pet get loose, having them microchipped is extremely important for identification if they are picked up by animal control or a local shelter.
Unfortunately, many of our clients also struggle with Independence Day. Big crowds
and sirens at local parades, areas flooded with people that were once safe for them to navigate, and loud, startling fireworks are all potential triggers for veterans, first
responders, and civilians with PTSD. Although many have made incredible progress with the struggles of navigating daily life, holidays such as the 4th of July can be extremely difficult. If you know someone who might be struggling, or could potentially be triggered by your festivities please be kind, respectful of their limits, and supportive of how they choose to celebrate the holiday. Notifying your neighbors that you plan to set off fireworks, and when you will be doing so would be an incredible gesture.
Summer has officially arrived, and everyone should have the opportunity to relax, unwind, and recharge. Sadly, lack of education regarding how Independence Day celebrations may affect individuals with PTSD can perpetuate the cycle of suffering. Looking out for your family and friends who might struggle with this holiday, continuing to educate yourself on the topic, and leading with kindness and understanding is incredibly powerful. More than anything, we want everyone to enjoy the 4th of July safely with the ones they love.
This post was written by Payton, who has raised three dogs for Custom Canines. She is currently CCSDA's Social Media & Marketing Coordinator as well as one of our Senior Trainers. Her passion for dogs, giving back, and photography has only grown during her time with our nonprofit. Payton has been quoted saying, "service dogs have stolen my heart, humbled me, lit a fire under me to keep learning more, and taught me how to live". She is pictured with one of her former trainees and one of our current breeding program dogs, Irish.
Pictured above, in order:
Bob, Nicole, and CCSDA client: Director of Training Bob Wendler and Executive Director Nicole Meadowcroft with a client at a local event
Simon: CCSDA service dog in training Simon
Laser and Irish: CCSDA graduates Laser and breeding program dog Irish at a 4th of July celebration