Friday, July 2, 2010

The Weekend (And Summer) Ahead

We battle fireworks year-round here, but nothing compares to July 4th.  Since it falls on a Sunday this year, I have a feeling we're going to have an unpleasantly extended holiday weekend over which we'll have to deal with the blasts.  Unfortunately, it usually doesn't stop there.  The month of July was absolutely awful last year, and unless something major happens, I don't think that will change very much.

Marge's walks have definitely decreased in frequency and duration.  Not only does she not want to be outside because of the heat, the threat of fireworks scares me indoors all through the late afternoon, evening, and night.  We walk in the morning, or sometimes around noon.  Occasionally, we'll sneak in a walk at night, but only if it seems really quiet (usually rainy nights work well - no one wants to shoot fireworks off in the rain) and never on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, since they seem to be the most frequent nights for fireworks. Unfortunately, though, our ritual of walking regularly at night has stopped indefinitely, until at least September or October.  It stinks, because Marge really does enjoy walking at night.

To compensate for the decreased activity, Marge is eating less, and many of her meals are dispensed from her Kibble Nibble.  I've tried to find other mentally stimulating food dispensers and toys, but so far, this one takes the cake as being her favorite.

It's too hot to train (even indoors), so practice for Rally has pretty much come to a halt - no pun intended.  I did set up two jumps in my yard and grabbed a piece of cheese, but Marge seemed pretty lackluster doing agility, too.

In terms of the weekend specifically, Marge's meals will be cut drastically to make way for the many treats that she'll get as a part of counterconditioning her to feel a bit better about fireworks.  In some ways, the predictability of these fireworks is good.. maybe, just maybe, I can make a small dent in her fears by pairing fireworks with yummy food all weekend.

Her supplement, L-Theanine, will likely be increased a bit.

We'll hunker down in the basement, too, where Marge can enjoy her soft crate and I can turn up the volume on the television to drown out the blasts.

Hopefully, we won't be having any company this year - last year, we had quite a large crowd in celebration of my grandmother's birthday, but that event seems to be moved to a restaurant this year.   I just have to keep my fingers crossed that no one winds up here afterwards (the restaurant we're likely going to is up the block from my house)...

Ah, well, we'll make the best of it.  Hope you all have a happy, safe 4th, and remember to keep your pets contained and on-leash, especially if they are noise-phobic like mine is.

(P.S. - I haven't updated on my cat, Layla, in a while.  Her nose is healing, slowly but surely.  It looks pretty good today. I'm anticipating another week or so of cone-time before she can go back to being a normal kitty again. Keep your fingers crossed!)


Never Say Never Greyhounds July 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM  

I love walking on rainy days too! No fireworks and no loose dogs (except mine)!

Sara July 2, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

This is a tough weekend for noise phobic dogs. Lucky for misty, she is going deaf.

I hope Marge makes it through the weekend relatively stress free.

Crystal (Thompson) Barrera July 2, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

I love walking in snowstorms (can you tell I'm from Minnesota??)... it's quiet, peaceful, and NO ONE is around. Plus, snow banks along sidewalks make perfect dog runs, and Maisy is so short, no one can tell she's there. :)

Stella July 2, 2010 at 3:09 PM  

We share Marge's noise phobia. Like you Stella and I are dreading fireworks, but the one MAYBE good thing, is they are predicting rain and stormy weather for the 4th. If that happens the storm jacket will help, but if its just firework booms that is an unknown for us and the storm jacket. I am going to stay home because she becomes my velcro dog and I don't want to leave her to her panic.

Happy 4th Sam and Marge!

Jo and Stella

Anonymous July 2, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

My mom and dad bought us a portable air conditioning box and that has helped kinda drown out those icky firecracker things. Most luckily, I'm not too terribly skeered of noises (unless they come in the form of a greeting card) but Brudder Ranger doesn't like them a bit! He really, really hates to go out into the back yard for abouts 2 weeks around the 4th of July. Mom says she used to like the holiday but not anymore!

Me and my mom are sending you and Marge lotsa hugs to get you through this Most Not Fun time. Oh, and I'm gonna gets mom to look into that Kibble Nibble thing. Sounds fun!

Wiggles & Wags,

AC July 2, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

I feel lucky that my goofy girl (who was shaking and whining on an attempted visit to our very, very small local pet shop yesterday) could care less about fireworks. Fears sure are fickle.

Paws crossed that the weekend goes alright. I also hope that you can make a dent in Marge's fireworks fear this summer.

Chris and Ricky July 2, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

No doubt about the fact that this weekend is bad for noise! As a matter of fact, it started on Monday night here. Crazy.

I hope you and Marge do well and after this weekend can get back to normal!

Sue July 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

There's a fireworks tent about a mile from our house and they usually shoot them off every night for a couple weeks before the fourth. This year I've only heard them two nights. Morgan heard them and refused to go outside after dark for several nights, but it's been unusually quiet for the past week.

We'll keep music and the Tv on all weekend and try to get her thru it as best we can. Good luck to you and Marge.

Cyndi and Stumpy July 2, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

I'd about kill to have a walk in the rain, right now. I don't envy you and and Marge, all the neighborhood activity. another point for dirtville (it needs all the points it can get)

Glad to hear Layla, is on the mend. I've meant to ask more than once.

Here's to the 4th, may it pass quicly and without incident!

Amy / Layla the Malamute July 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

I really hope this weekend won't be bad for Marge, but I can see why it would be the worst weekend for it. My friend had a Yorkie who was terrified of them too. She had to call the police on the people, but of course they're not rushing over. By the time they got there, it's all done with already. Plus, one of the neighbors setting them off, WAS a cop too.

I was looking for a new toy for Layla and Casey and I'm going to try a Kibble Nibble. They get food out of the Kongs so quickly, and I'd like to find something that takes a little more time. If you find anything else that's good, I'd love the suggestion.

Hope you have a quiet weekend, with no relatives popping over. Pat's cousin randomly came over yesterday...and he's still here...and who knows when he's leaving. It's annoying enough, but it would be much worse if I had to keep the dogs calm. I really hope it works out.

Also, I'm glad to hear about your Layla. I kept meaning to ask how she was doing. I'm not sure if I commented on the old post, but I would have been furious at that vet tech. I would've called the office manager or the veterinary manager, whoever her boss is. That's a HUGE mistake. Technically, they're not supposed to give any medical advice at all. (Same for the pharmacy - even if people ask ridiculously dumb questions where the answers are obvious, we're not supposed to answer anything medical, we're supposed to refer them to the pharmacist or doctor). I'm really sorry that she caused such a problem. I'm glad that you got it under control quickly, but that was a lot of unneeded stress for both you and Layla.

Good luck this weekend, and Happy 4th!!

Muttsandaklutz July 2, 2010 at 7:30 PM  

Fingers crossed for Layla, and for Marge this weekend. Sounds like you have a really comprehensive action plan for getting her through this.

I hate fireworks!!

houndstooth July 2, 2010 at 7:41 PM  

Our older girl, Lilac, is really storm and fireworks phobic, too. What we have had the best luck with is putting a wire crate in the basement, playing a movie or the stereo, and putting a blanket over the sides and top of the crate. She always seeks out cave like structures (regardless of weather, she just likes them, I guess) and the blanket also helps to mute the sound some. You might also find that starting to give her melatonin for a few weeks helps take off the edge. It's a natural supplement and a lot of people have found that giving it to anxious dogs helps with their anxiety, but it's not something you give on a one time basis. It's something that you do for a duration of time. Another thing that might help you for the Fourth is a DAP. We wish you and Marge good luck and safety through the holiday!

The Army of Four July 2, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

We were glad for the update on Layla. We hope she continues to heal!
Fireworks and firecrackers are out of control here. They should be outlawed!!!
Tail wags,

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! July 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

It sounds like you have a good plan in place for the days ahead -

Good luck!

tula monstah July 3, 2010 at 8:02 AM  

i hear ya about the heat sam! to hot & humid to move even for a piece of cheese:) Enjoy the 4th in a safe- furry quiet place!!


LauraK July 3, 2010 at 8:37 AM  

Hopefully you and Marge can get some good fireworks desensitizing in this weekend- we'll be thinking of you!

Try to enjoy the holiday weekend and don't be too stressed :)

The hot weather and humidity sounds rough- that's no fun when you can't go outside to play!

Kathy Mocharnuk July 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM  

I always get called a lot right after the fourth to do shelter checks on dogs that get panicked and get lost on the fourth and end up in the shelter ;-(, glad you reminded everyone to be careful. Fourth of July is a hard time for dogs ;-(, and with the fourth on Sunday, so the celebrations can go on for days...I imagine it could be a really noisy one this year, but glad you are up on it and already have a plan of action. Glad Layla is doing well, hope she is cone free very soon.

Dexter July 3, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

What kind of crazy place do you live with fireworks all the time? We had a few, but nothing like that. I hope you and Marge are OK and can relax in the nice cool basement.


Carolyn July 3, 2010 at 6:28 PM  

Are you lucky enough to have massive artillery shells legal as well? I am! And it sounds like a cannon when someone sets one off around here. Oy!

I'll be spending the weekend evenings much the same as the basement, doors shut to all outside rooms, tv on, speakers turned up. The only bright side (if that) is that Cooper isn't scared or panicked about the noise, he just wants to kick it's a$$.

Hope Marge stays comfortable.


Diana July 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

I use to really like the fourth of July but now it does seem to go on for days. There were a ton of them last night so it will be ten times worse tonight. None of my dogs really seem freaked out but last night Miley was panting and lying next to me. She not a touchy feely type dog. Not looking forward to tonight. Diana

BRUTUS July 4, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

Good luck, and I hope your 4th is as quiet as possible! Have you thought of trying a thundershirt? I just bought one for Brute to help with his separation anxiety, but it was specifically developed to help dogs that had firework/thunderstorm/loud sound anxiety. Check it out at It words on the swaddling/acupressure concept For $35 it's worth a try, and they have a one-month money-back gaurantee. Not going to help you this year, but I thought it was worth mentioning!


Lorenza July 4, 2010 at 9:22 PM  

I hope Marge does not have a scary time with the fireworks! Loud tv sounds a good option to me!
Glad to know Layla is doing better.
Take care
Kissses and hugs

Kari in Alaska July 4, 2010 at 11:45 PM  

I sure hope she does well with the fireworks!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart July 5, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

When the time comes, I hope you girls can move somewhere quiet.

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