I love fireworks, but this year, I’ll be doing everything I can to avoid a big show. It’s not even the 4th yet and my poor little dog Dio is already coming unglued.
Three and a half years ago, I found Dio – or he found me – out on a hike in Monument Valley. Back then he was a scraggly, starving, stinking wild dog and his list of phobias included men, sticks, running water, brooms, bridges, cars and gun fire.
I’m a big believer in training dogs by example and Bowie has been a great role model for Dio. Just by watching Bowie, Dio has decided for himself that men are good for petting, sticks are good for chasing, running water is good for swimming, brooms and bridges are no big deal, and that cars are good for exploring. Gun fire, however – which doesn’t phase Bowie – still reduces Dio to a quivering mess. In his world, fireworks might as well be a firing squad.
Dio’s not just afraid of the noise; he seems to also know the consequences. I am convinced he saw another dog get shot, back in his wild desert dog days. When Dio hears gunfire, he takes cover, hiding under anything he can. He’s most fearful in open country, like the desert. Last week, hiking in the deep, thick Oregon woods a few shots in the distance turned his head, but he kept right on trotting down the trail, relatively unconcerned. Camping just north of Portland last night, a few errant pops from early fireworks sent him burrowing under the bed inside the Teardrop.
So what can I do to avoid fireworks? Head to Mount Rainier National Park and then on to Canada! Has anybody driven into Canada lately, with dogs and/or an RV? I have my passport, an “on assignment” letter from my editor, and rabies certificates for the dogs. What else? Warnings, tips & suggestions welcome! Happy 4th!