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My dogs do plenty of really dumb things.  I won’t dis them by naming any of them (you can read about them here in past posts, anyway).

But once in a while they blow me away with their intelligence. I know–you’ve been a dog person for a long time and you take this for granted. I’m still new to this religion so I was startled and impressed when this happened yesterday.

I was in the back yard using the picnic table as my art studio. Crispin came out with me (not for nothing is his nickname Velcro Boy) and was keeping a watchful eye on his territory, and on me. After a while I realized Dinah hadn’t come out with us.

“Crispin,” I said. “Where is Dinah?”

He leapt to his feet and started looking all around us.

“Cris,” I said again. “Dinah’s in the house. Go get Dinah.”

He took off like a shot, and 12 seconds later he was back with Dinah in tow. We all settled down together to enjoy the afternoon.

I told this story to the Pack Leader, whose response was “Yeah, sure–what did you think he would do?”

I, however, am still in the beginner’s mind phase of dog person-hood. I’m impressed.

Shortly after I put up my last post, I ran across this article from the Tehama County, Califorina Daily News about how to keep your pet safe on holidays in general, and July 4 in particular.

The article quotes Tehama County Animal Care Center Shelter Manager Scott Alsteen as noting that the number of lost pet reports that they get on a daily basis–typically two or three–rises to as many as 15 a day during weeks like this one.

Animals are spooked by fireworks, as our Dinah was, says Alsteen, and they run away, get lost, get hit by cars, or, even if confined inside, injure themselves out of anxiety and fear (like our canine friend Tris, who hurts his mouth chewing and pulling at the baseboard heaters in their home when there are fireworks or thunder).

Alsteen has several recommendations:

  • Stay near your pets during these noisy times.
  • If you must be away, be sure your animals are confined in a safe place away from things that could hurt them (or, I’d like to add, that they could hurt)
  • If you can’t be with them, supply them with calming and distracting background noise by turning up a radio or television set near them.
  • If your vet suggests a tranquilizer or other calming medication, administer it before your cat or dog (or wildebeest–whatever you’ve got) becomes anxious. A dog-loving friend of mine, though, reminded us recently that your animals can probably hear the rockets or thunder long before you can.
  • Finally, just in case, make sure your critters wear identification tags (we call these Dinah’s and Crispin’s jewelry) at all times.

After all, it was Dinah’s clearly marked tags that helped us to reunite with her so quickly after her scary lost episode.

Once you’ve taken care of all these things, enjoy your celebration. I’m off to make strawberry shortcake. Think I’ll slip the critters a treat or two on my way.  Happy 4th.

Just a quickie today to refer everyone back to Dinah’s (and my) traumatic 4th of July story. Click here to read about how we almost lost her–and about how we got her back.

Love your animals today and keep them safe from the snaps, crackles, and pops!

He is so shaggy. People are amazed when he gets up and they suddenly realize they have been talking to the wrong end. --Elizabeth Jones
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Nancy Hall ©2009
July 2009