Independence Day: My dog’s personal hell

Aside from a scenario in which Katniss is separated from both my wife and me for more than 10 minutesº—OK, 10 seconds—surrounded by vacuum cleaners, and *gasp* out of food and water, what is surely her worst nightmare¹, and maybe your dog’s, too, is the July 4 weekend. As in right now.

It’s not that she’s sympathetic to the British rule of early America and hates freedom; it’s the sound of fireworks popping constantly in our neighborhood throughout the evening of the fourth that terrifies her and her very astute sense of hearing. In a selfish way, I suppose it’s sort of nice because she always runs to me for comfort and protection as people in our ‘hood set off noisy firecrackers, but I’d rather she come to me out of wanting affection than being afraid of her environment.

Despite a history of droughts and the subsequent risk of wildfires as well as setting off fireworks being illegal in Austin city limits—I’m referring to the actual city limits, not the show/venue²—fireworks are allowed to be sold in the part of the county in which we live, despite the ban in nearby Austin proper³. Regardless, few people seem to follow the law anyway, as amateur fireworks can be seen and heard throughout early July ’round these parts.

Those folks must not be pet owners.

In late June, some firecracker-happy people on our street were setting off what were likely nothing more than Black Cats or bottle rockets—pretty harmless stuff in the realm of fireworks, aside from the wildfire danger an errant bottle rocket can pose—and Katniss heard them. No noise gets by her, as evidenced by a tree limb scratching against our window one night that sent her into bouncer mode. There’s no way that tree, despite it being immobile, was getting past the velvet rope at Katniss’ club—unless the tree slipped her a bribe of peanut butter of some sort. Oh, those tricky trees.

Anyway, since she has heard fireworks going off nearby, there are times Katniss refuses to go on walks with my wife and me, and we assume it’s because she is afraid of the loud noise fireworks create and her fear of them going off while she’s on her walk. And what happens when a German shepherd (possibly mixed with greyhound) mix doesn’t get enough exercise? Picture a 5-year-old kid after double-fisting two cans of Red Bull. And the kid can bark.

TL;DR: Nearby fireworks equal a scared dog who refuses to exercise, which means she’s hyperactive, and therefore we don’t sleep so much.

Happy Independence Day!


ºI’m pretty sure Katniss has some form of separation anxiety when it comes to my wife and me, as some dogs do with their humans, but I think I have it, too, when it comes to her. We were visiting family in San Antonio recently, which meant Katniss had to go to the kennel, and as much as I enjoy seeing my family, it was agonizing not having her there with us. Calling the kennel to check on her and maybe even get her on the phone to bark at me was considered. I should get out more.

¹Speaking of nightmares, Katniss must have had one recently. How do I know? She often sleeps on the bed with us at night and was apparently kicking her legs as she dreamt. I wound up with one of her little paws in my mouth as a result. It tasted like Fritos.

²“Austin City Limits” is a weekly TV show that has been on the air for more than 40 years and features various musical artists performing live in a downtown Austin venue that also hosts non-“ACL” concerts. I think it airs on PBS and online, now, too. I’m guessing it was the first time I ever heard of Austin as a child while watching “Sesame Street” on PBS. Anyway, we saw Kacey Musgraves perform there not too long ago, and she was phenomenal. Musgraves is the best thing to happen to country music since cowboy hats, and you should check her out.

³It’s complicated. I am fairly familiar with this portion of Texas law, but me explaining it is about as fun for you as watching reruns of golf is for me. So I won’t bother.


4 thoughts on “Independence Day: My dog’s personal hell

  1. Katniss is not alone in her disdain for fireworks….July 5th is easily one of the busiest intake days for local shelters because pets are left alone outside or with access to a doggie door OR just bolt while being walked with their human while fireworks are going off. Thank you for being Katniss’ protector and keeping her safe from the evil, loud banging!


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