Maricopa animal shelter ‘Calming Companions’ program celebrated July 4th the right way by opening their doors for the public to come and help the animals stay calm.
The ‘Calming Companions’ program: a gentle presence during July 4th fireworks
On the Fourth of July (2018) in Phoenix, Arizona, the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control began an experimental program called “Calming Companions,” whereby they invited 200 animal-loving members of the public into their shelters to sit with the dogs and cats. The loud and constant noise of fireworks being set off over the holiday can be a terrifying enough ordeal for small animals at the best of times, and even more so in the confined and already stressful conditions of a shelter.
While fireworks are fun for many, not everyone enjoys loud and startling noises
Some 200 volunteers turned out for the first Maricopa County Animal Care and Control “Calming Companions,” event on the 4th of July 2018, visiting one or other of the control’s shelters. These caring individuals brought their own chairs and blankets to sit on as they read, played music, and entertained the animals. Staff at the shelters provided treats, toys, and games that helped keep the dogs and cats occupied, and the joint effort led to a great experience for everyone involved.
Volunteer Amy Engel: “Ever thought about bringing your dog to crowded places? Even worse, crowded places with fireworks? I promise you dogs don’t like it. Tonight was the first year Maricopa County Animal Shelter presented “Comfort the Canines” … approximately 200 people came to help the pooches. Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats! it was so so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside.”
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control has become accustomed to the chaos that Fourth of July celebrations can bring. Dogs startled by the noise of fireworks can run away, leaving their owners fearful for their safety and well-being, and they often end up being brought into these shelters. This leads to one of the busiest days for the shelters and their staff.
Public information officer for the Control, Jose Santiago, told, KOLD “We expect it to be a busy day, unfortunately, a lot of people do leave their dogs outside and those loud noises and explosions cause them to dig under fences, sometimes jump over fences, we’ve heard of cases of dogs jumping through windows, all out of fear from those loud explosions.”
While fireworks can certainly be exhilarating for many people, we should bear in mind that not everyone enjoys loud and startling noises, especially when they can’t understand what’s happening.
This Calming Companions’ initiative was a huge success. Perhaps organise something like this in your own community next year?
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control works tirelessly to care for the animals in their community, helping pets be reunited with their families and finding stray animals loving new homes. If you are looking to adopt, volunteer, or help in any other way, please get in touch. More general news and updates on the (US) National Pet Rescue Facebook page.
DISCOVER HOW OWNING A DOG CAN HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
A study published by the American Heart Association says dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause, and living with a dog had an even greater benefit for people with heart problems.