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Fireworks are fun, but not for animals

This is one of the posters that Matt and Elizabeth Cruse posted around town when Big Boy went missing during last year’s fireworks display in Graeagle. Photos submitted

Big Boy Cruse was enjoying a Saturday night in his Graeagle home, when the fireworks began. He soon became agitated and started running around the house.

A family member opened the door to let him into the fenced backyard, unaware that a gate had been left open. Thus began Big Boy’s two-week odyssey.

His owners, Matt and Elizabeth Cruse, received initial reports of Big Boy, a 3-year-old rottweiler, being spotted near Frazier Creek, but he ran when people approached. The couple posted fliers and searched, but to no avail.

Two weeks later, a couple celebrating their anniversary in the Graeagle area, came across Big Boy laying in the middle of a trail on Mills Peak. He was injured and severely dehydrated.

After calling the sheriff’s office for assistance and being told there was nothing to be done, they contacted the owner of Howling Dogs Bike and Ski, where they had rented their bicycles.

Yes, he knew of a missing rottweiller. He called the Cruses and met them on the trail where the cyclists were standing guard over Big Boy.

With their local veterinarian out of town, the Cruses took Big Boy to an animal hospital in Reno where he was cleaned up and stitched. Based on the wounds and teeth marks, it’s believed that Big Boy tangled with a mountain lion.

He has since recuperated and has resumed going out after dark, but the Cruses already have plans for how to handle this year’s fireworks.

“We are going to keep him inside and turn the television up so that hopefully he won’t hear them,” Cruse said.

The Cruses want to warn other to be careful so that their pets won’t meet the same fate as Big Boy.

They have since adopted another dog from High Sierra Animal Rescue in Portola, and that organization also wants to pet owners to be aware of the dangers that come with this festive holiday.

Protect your animals
Ten-year-old Eva embraces Big Boy who is her constant companion when she is at home in Graeagle. She was devastated when he went missing.

Local animal rescue organization High Sierra Animal Rescue recommends the following for keeping your pets safe this 4th of July holiday.

Enjoy the fireworks, but leave the dog at home. Loud noises and large crowds are confusing and stressful for most animals. More pets go missing during the 4th of July holiday than at any other time of the year.

Keep them indoors, not in the yard. To prevent pets from running away and/or hurting themselves, exercise them during the day and bring them indoors before nightfall. Make sure all windows are closed and ID tags are current. Provide pets with toys or bones to help alleviate stress. Products like the Thundershirt can also be helpful, or you may speak with your veterinarian or animal care professional to discuss options.

Firecrackers can frighten, injure and poison pets. Keep these away and out of reach at all times. Never light a firecracker near your pet.

Keep alcohol and human foods out of reach, and avoid any dietary changes during this period.

Keep festive glow jewelry, pins, headbands, etc. out of pets’ reach to avoid severe gastrointestinal problems or blockages.

Do not apply sunblock or insect repellants unless specifically designated as “safe for pets.” Ingestion and inhalation of non pet-safe options can cause severe side effects.

Watch pets around BBQ and fire pits, grills, lighter fluid, matches, and briquettes.

Keep pets well hydrated and ensure they have access to shade. Never leave a dog in a car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked.

Keep pets well exercised. This helps alleviate behavioral problems caused by stress or change in routine.

HSAR, in Portola, is a no-kill rescue dedicated to saving homeless pets and advancing pet welfare. For more information, contact them at 832-4727 or [email protected].

One thought on “Fireworks are fun, but not for animals

  • Sharing some personal insight regarding trying to tune out fireworks with loud tv as was mentioned in the article. In years past we tried this with our dogs and it does not work. We stayed with them every year to see for ourselves and found the best solution was to keep ourselves calm to better reassure them during the show as the noise is very stressful for animals. As a side note, natural noises like thunder, not a problem for our pups, but fireworks always are.

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