Volunteers Comfort Shelter Pets During Noisy July 4 Celebration

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Imagine hearing a loud, crashing boom, but you have no idea where from where it came. The sound hurts your sensitive ears, makes your heart race and sends you into a tizzy. The booming and sharp popping sounds repeat themselves over and over, and you just can’t get away from them. That’s how it feels for many dogs and cats when fireworks are shot off and why it’s so important for pet owners to help their four-legged friends feel safe and secure.

But the animals awaiting their “furever” home at shelters don’t have an owner to focus solely on them and their well-being during fireworks season. There aren’t enough staff members to help each and every deserving pet at the shelter feel comforted either. That’s why the SPCA of Anne Arundel County in Annapolis filled up with volunteers for the Fourth of July. These kindhearted people know firsthand how frightening fireworks can be for many pets and how the shelter animals would be scared, so they decided to do something about it.

“Instead of going out and partying for the Fourth of July, our volunteers came to the SPCA of Anne Arundel County and spent the night comforting the animals during the fireworks. The loud noise from fireworks shows can be very disturbing to cats and dogs, so our shelter volunteers stepped up to the plate and helped them have a relaxing evening,” the shelter posted on its Facebook page.

Related: Fireworks Frighten Dogs, Making July4-5 Busiest Days At Animal Shelters

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Expert dog trainer Cesar Millan shares on his website that “it is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems, and they can become anxious or afraid. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct.”

“To your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder. Fireworks are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells. Dogs experience the world through their senses — nose, eyes, ears. The typical Fourth of July celebration can be overwhelming to them,” Millan noted.

Nick Crawford, office manager at the shelter, told Patch that shelter staffers were amazed at how compassionate the volunteers were on a holiday that many use to socialize with humans, not cradle frightened animals.

“It was wonderful. Our dogs were on edge with the fireworks going off in the neighborhood. Some sang the animals lullabies while others sat and read them stories from books,” Crawford told Patch.

The shelter is always in need of volunteers not just for holiday cuddles, but every day.

“We have a rapidly growing volunteer base, but some only stay for a day or two to get their pet fix in, so we would love to see even more volunteers come help,” Crawford told Patch.

For more information about volunteering at the SPCA of Anne Arundel County, visit AACSPCA.org.

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