It’s NOISY Out There!

animal wisdom fourth of july noise Jun 28, 2022

Here we are, that time of year again, when we celebrate our independence from England with picnics and fireworks. I remember it well. Every 4th of July our family would travel to my grandfather’s cottage on the Fox River, and hang out with all our aunts, uncles and cousins (and there were a passel of us!). My cousin Michael would be forced to play his accordion. I had a huge crush on Michael, and I have one particularly embarrassing photo of me standing behind him (with most of my other cousins) watching him play. It’s embarrassing because everything I felt was on my face. I was, like, 11? And lucky you guys, I thought I had that photo, but apparently not. Probably just as well. Here’s another photo of that particular passel of cousins on a different holiday. Cousin Michael is on the far left. I’m there somewhere too, and I’m 7 years old. Can you pick me out? There may be a prize. (My brother, by the way, is front and center - he was three.) And apologies to my cousin.

Me and the cousins on my dad’s side of the family.

We didn’t bring our dogs to any gatherings because really, it would have been like having extra cousins who had zero manners, and more chaos than usual would have ensued. I’m pretty sure all of our pets thanked us, because invariably one or another of the uncles would bring some form of noise-making, bright-light-making instrument of celebration (aka fireworks), which were illegal to buy in our home state, by the way. However, the state line was not far, and this part of the celebration was always important (to some. Not necessarily to me).

I liked sparklers. I loved waving them around and writing my name and doing other silly things with them while they sparkled merrily and got shorter and shorter. I’ve never actually been a fan of loud noises. Just call me Rover.


I think this goes all the way back to when I was a wee one, sitting on the floor in front of the television set (yes, we had one. I think it had a 10” screen or something.) Black and white, of course, color TV hadn’t been invented yet - and in actuality it was after I was out of the home, I think, that my mom and dad finally got a color TV. I never saw an episode of Star Trek in color at my house when it was first on TV. However, I did see one at my friend’s house. Once. Very cool. (People born fairly recently? It’s okay to roll your eyes at the ramblings of a person of more age than you…)

How it looked on our TV.

Well, that was a left turn. So back to sitting on the floor in front of the teeny tiny black and white TV. I think my mom said I was three. So my vocabulary wasn’t quite as good then as it is now, and I was probably entertaining myself with Lincoln Logs or a Susie Homemaker set (they tried, my parents, to encourage a few domestic skills in me. Didn’t stick.) A thunderstorm rolled in. I’m three, I’m ignoring the fact that there’s thunder and lightning happening all around the house. UNTIL - our antenna was struck by lightning, it flashed down the wire to the TV, and with an unholy BANG! pretty much obliterated the set. And scared one three-year-old quite badly. That thunderstorm got just a little too close for my comfort.

To this day, I love thunderstorms, but only if I’m inside a house or vehicle, and not anywhere near electronics.

Our dog Niko is afraid of the wind. It howls out here, and we don’t even live in Wyoming. We do, however, live on Windy Hill, which we found out after we bought the house. Sigh.

He also is not fond of loud noises. Actually, all of our cats and dogs are like that. The other night our smoke alarms decided to give us an unscheduled concert. The dogs all went outside. I’m not sure where the cats went, but they all disappeared, and took a long time to resurface. I get it. If I could have left the house too, I would have.

All this is a long-winded way of saying you might like fireworks and loud noises, but your pets might not. Watch them closely during this time. Are they panting a little bit more than usual? Do they look a bit wild-eyed? They can sense things from a lot farther off than we can. 

Do what you can to make them comfortable. We are fortunate in that we live in a spot where the people around us leave the fireworks to other families. We’re pretty quiet out here. We’re also all on 40 acres, so we’re pretty far apart, but even that is changing. More and more 5 and 10 acre parcels are being released all the time. More people, more opportunity for loud noises. If that happens, we’ll figure out a way to keep our furry friends in a quiet area during the festivities, even if it means loading them all in the car and going somewhere. Or we’ll move, which might be easier.

 Happy Fourth!

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