Things That Go Boom

3 Jul

I haven’t gone out to a fireworks show in 91 dog-years. I wouldn’t have gone that last time a decade ago, but my ex whined and pleaded, like men do. But I rushed home as soon as I could to comfort my dogs and promise them never to do that again. They forgave me after I covered my face in peanut butter and let them lick it off.

The fact is, I don’t like fireworks either. Sure, they’re pretty to look at, but all that noise freaks me out. Possibly because I grew up in a house with drive-by shootings from the inside. Or maybe because when I was even younger, I lived on an Air Force base that had “war games” and we lived in buildings painted to match the forest in case someone wanted to bomb the place. That’s a lot of comfort when you’re a 10-year-old. You try explaining to Barbie that she can only go outside if she wears a camo bikini.

Or maybe both my dogs and I don’t like things that go boom in the night because those things are inherently scary. And not only to us. It hurts me to thin about the poor wildlife having to deal with the testosterone rush that requires everyone blow something up to celebrate freedom. How free are you if you’re holed up in a tree stump quaking?

I’ve had dogs for 34 years, so I’ve survived a lot of fireworks ordeals. Three of my dogs barked or bark every time a rockets-red-glare takes to the sky. Two quivered under blankets as I turned the white noise machine to “loud ocean waves crashing on the California coast, with occasional seagull cries” in a futile attempt to drown out the noise. Two didn’t seem to care as long as there were plenty of treats on hand.

I foolishly believed that eventually we’d find a better way to celebrate Independence Day. Like with flash-mob dancing or mimes acting out things we love about our country. “Oh, I get it – it’s gender equity!” But noooooooooo.

In the past ten years, I have lost part of a fence because kids launched a bottle rocket into it and set it on fire; I have seen young kids make their own IED by putting a cherry bomb into a mayonnaise jar; and who could forget the time a stray firework set a neighbor’s shed on fire – a shed in which he stored gasoline for his mower and extra ammo? Yeah, that was a night the dogs and I will never forget.

For the past several years, I’ve attempted to find a quieter spot than my neighborhood to take the dogs for the night, but everything in a 50-mile radius goes boom all through the night. We once took a walk around our local hospital, which a) is kind of out in the boonies and b) is a hospital for dog’s sake and if you have to be quiet inside, the same should be true for the outside. But noooooooo. Everyone in the neighborhood did their best to keep Chinese fireworks companies profitable.

So now we stay home and try our best to keep calm. We have a Thundershirt and Rescue Remedy on hand. We have noise-cancelling headphones, which by the way, tend to freak my dogs out as much as the fireworks themselves. I’m thinking about befriending a harpist so she can come over and play soothing music between June 30 and July 7, which is what we call, “Louddependence Day.”

Oh, and I’d better stock up on treats. Cookies for the dogs and vegan ice cream for me.

 

 

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