As an animal rescuer, I hate the 4th of July

I am finally back in LA, still sick from bronchitis, but ready to head into the worst time of the year for rescuing. Most people know that animals are afraid of fireworks, and I don’t get why we continue to use the loud ones knowing that. I’ve hated noisy fireworks since I was a little kid, and I’m pretty sure plenty of other kids are overwhelmed, too.

What most people don’t see are the additional things. In addition many animals getting lost because they run in fear from our stupid fireworks, June/July

1) are terrible months for adoptions. We get very few inquiries for the animals we already have waiting to be adopted. Families are moving, people are going on vacay, and if they plan to adopt an animal, they likely plan to do so after their summer plans are over.

2) By the same logic, people who are thinking about dumping their old dogs in the shelter do so right before the fourth because of vacations, fourth of July celebrations, etc. Older dogs pose extreme problems for rescues. Some really great rescues specialize old dogs, and that’s great, but they can’t take them all. For the rest of us, adopters willing to take old dogs are few and far between, and we usually wind up keeping them for the rest of their lives.

Rescuing animals is to no small degree an inventorying and logistics problem. Rescues provide foster space to supplement that found in animal shelters. When the animals do not get adopted, they take up foster room. With old animals, rescues face an agonizing choice: if they use their room for older animals, they might not be able to accommodate the younger dogs that have a better chance at adoption. But if rescues do not take older dogs, these old dogs, often very dear, are very likely to die in shelters. We know if we leave them, we are issuing a death sentence, and that’s agony to most rescuers.

Those of you who adopt older dogs are gems, plain and simple.

So in addition to overloading our fosters and ourselves, rescues have this last, lovely bit:

3) inevitably, some drunk fuckwit decides it would HI-LAR-IOUS to attach fireworks to their dog. FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY. Except, of course, for the dog, who is both terrified of the noise anyway and, once the deed is done, has either died miserably and painfully from the explosion, or is left with third degree burns and large portions flesh blow away.

Fun for the whole family, except a dog that only wanted to be loved and included. And rescuers’ Fboo feeds gets to be filled with story after story like this, designed to haunt us for days afterward.

So yeah, if you should encounter any genius who decides they want to do this to the family pet, please encourage them to do the following (test instructions for men, granted that, sorry, it’s usually them):

  • pull down own trousers;
  • attach firework of choice to one’s own scrotum; and
  • enjoy fun for the whole family!

Seriously. Doesn’t all this sound fun, fun, fun?

Here’s a picture of little Betty White to make you smile after an unhappy post. We just picked up her from a Good Samaritan, who found her wandering alone in Echo Park. She’s a dear little senior, in a bad way after being a stray, but still lots of love to give.

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