This was inspired by reading The Land Rover Owner’s Wife’s post on Bonfire Night. Her piece is thoughtful (as always) and I completely agree with the sentiment of it. But it made me want to talk about how I feel about fireworks.
I don’t object to fireworks, in fact I love them. I went to a fireworks party last night as it happens. I adore sparklers (who doesn’t?!) and I don’t mind simple fireworks like the ones LROW talked about enjoying with her little ones. I don’t mind organised or planned displays. What I really object to is people letting off fireworks randomly from about two weeks before Bonfire Night. I could cope if it were one night but it seems to go on forever. My reason for this objection? Mollie.
Mollie is absolutely terrified of loud noises. She shakes, she hyperventilates, she tries to hide. Over the years I have constructed dens, used dog pheromone plug-ins and worked to figure out what makes her feel more comfortable. This year I invested in a Thundershirt which is good for anxious dogs and although I dislike drugging her, she also had a course of Zylkene, a non drowsy anti-anxiety medication. Both of these made a significant difference. I also ensured she was looked after if I was out; either by my Mum, or last night I paid for her to stay with our wonderful dog walker Michelle. She has spent a lot of time by the oven covered with towels with the light turned low. But Mollie has still spent the last two weeks in a state of permanent anxiety.
And this is not unique to Mollie. Many animals suffer in the same way and their owners dread this time of year. One farmer friend told me of a cow she owned who died of fright after fireworks were let off beside her field.
Parents are frustrated by people letting off fireworks after they’ve settled babies or young children to sleep. Older people find the unexpected bangs unsettling.
Although I would be quite happy if fireworks were banned for sale to the public like a current petition to the government (find it here), I think there is a more liberal way. Simply, I would like to see a system whereby if you want to have a firework display you apply for a license, which has to be publicised publicly (like planning applications), before you are able to purchase your fireworks. This license would detail the place and time you are permitted to set off your fireworks. That way people in the immediate area could plan; for me it would be knowing when to start Mollie’s anti-anxiety medication. This way no one would be prevented from enjoying fireworks, but it might mean they were confined to times they are expected: Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Years Eve. Then everyone might find it easier to cope.
This has been Mollie’s Bonfire Night…