Tag Archives: fireworks

DIY Comfort Vest For Your Dog

Yes, we’ve all seen ads for the pricey “dog shirts” that are sold to help dogs deal with anxiety caused by separation from their owners, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. I love my dogs to pieces, but I’m not plunking down that sort of money when I can DIY it for much less.

Got an ACE bandage? Preferably an older one? Safety pin? You’re ready!

Here’s Boss, our rescue dog. He has lots of issues. He evidently flunked out of drug-and-bomb-dog training in Tennessee and hit hard times soon thereafter. We adopted him when he was between foster homes after seeing only a blurry pic of him sitting on command. He caught a ride with my eldest on his way home from college for Christmas Break his Freshman year, and we’ve spoiled him rotten ever since. I haven’t ironed a shirt for my husband in years, but I starch and iron Boss’s bandannas. #justsayin Here he is before a storm moves in:

This is the perfect time to wrap him. Or just before dusk around Independence Day. Here’s how he looks fully wrapped:

Doesn’t he model well? He’s so picky, though! I wanted a nice picture in the backyard, but he insisted on the loveseat in my office. He does look nice in that lighting, though. Pardon the sheet. He was shedding.

I used a full-length non-adhesive Ace bandage for Boss, and he’s about eighty pounds. Cut the wrap and use Fray-Check (available at all craft and fabric stores) if you have dogs that need shorter wraps. It needs to be snug, but not tight. Think “hug”, ’cause that’s what they need. This is essentially a full-body constant hug. Hmm, I may need one myself.

I can probably talk Boss into a video if necessary, but I’m gonna try to walk you through this. (If you need a video please comment and I’ll bribe him.)

Put the center of the bandage roll in the center of your dog’s chest.  Bring it up on both sides and cross at the withers (equivalent of between shoulder blades for humans). Wrap down again, crossing under belly and bringing up to attach ends above rump. *For male dogs, make sure NOT to cover penis with bandage.*

Why do you need this? Because many (OK, most) people don’t celebrate Independence Day. They celebrate Fourth of July with a drunken BBQ on their day off work and fireworks for a full two weeks, annoying the hell out of their neighbors who have to get up at 3 a.m., traumatizing all the dogs in the area (except my Saminda, who thinks it’s a tribute to her chocolate lab beauty), and probably doing horrific things to any PTSD sufferers in the neighborhood.

Last year I called my local police and claimed to have a PTSD sufferer in my household (truly, don’t know WHAT poor Boss has been through) and asked if they could at least enforce the 10 p.m. noise ordinance. Her answer? “We can’t do anything unless people are shooting fireworks AT each other.” My #StMatthews taxes are being SO well-spent.

Oh, and BTW, the whole “Fourth of July” thing is random. The Declaration of Independence was voted in on July 2nd, 1776, but there were riots in New York before it was finally approved on July 9th. By August 2nd most delegates had signed. Just fodder if you want to educate the rednecks on the next street over.

My House is a “No Sparks” Zone

I love our country and appreciate all the freedoms we enjoy (and mostly take for granted). I’m very thankful that Independence Day for us wasn’t a day of terror, sorrow, and loss as Bastille Day was in France. I firmly believe there were many terrorist plans in place and that we were protected by Homeland Security and by our country’s intelligence community and military. But I’m not writing about politics today. I’m writing about fireworks.

I’ve been a nurse my entire adult life, and if that has taught me nothing else it’s taught me that helmets should be worn on motorcycles and fireworks should be set off by experts. Organ transplant programs here flourished when the state across the river didn’t have a helmet law. Bad news for the wind-in-their-hair donors, but good news for those waiting on lungs, livers, hearts, kidneys, etc.

We also have a spectacular hand transplant program here. I’d never given the hand transplant program much thought until I read a news article many years ago about a particularly successful transplant. It had a picture of the young man smiling and showing off his “new hand”.  The article mentioned that he’d lost the hand during an accident involving fireworks. As I read on I discovered that most transplant patients (at least around here) have lost their hand while setting off fireworks. Not operating dangerous, complicated machinery; not while  repairing cars or farm machinery; not even while arc-welding, righting overturned train cars, or other dangerous occupations. Setting off fireworks. Head-up: picture of actual damage to hand from fireworks below.


fireworks damage

I called the non-emergency number for my local police this year after being kept up half the night by a trembling, terrified eighty-pound dog trying to burrow inside my skin three nights in a row (and it wasn’t even the fourth of July yet!) I didn’t complain, just asked politely if the noise ordinance after ten-o-clock would be enforced after the holiday was over. I was told that they “pretty much let people do what they wanted unless they started shooting fireworks at each other.” That’s helpful.

I live in an old neighborhood, by the way. With overhead power, cable, and phone lines, and lots of flammable mature trees. And the fire station is close, but just across the railroad tracks. So a fire truck or an ambulance could be three minutes away or “damn, that took out a dozen houses” slow. So although we don’t do amateur fireworks shows we’re still at risk because of neighbors.  Same neighbors every year. At least these days I’m not getting up at three on weekends and holidays to go to work.

So here’s my advice for your family’s health and happiness: Buy some sparklers for the kids, and warn them they truly could kill each other with them. Eat watermelon, burgers, and hot dogs. Decorate a wagon for a neighborhood parade. Have three-legged races, water balloon fights, and enjoy yourselves. Just leave the fireworks to the professionals so you don’t end up in the E.R. with everyone referring to you as “the dumbass in Room 3”.

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