Wyatt, serenely sunning himself post shit.
  • Wyatt, sunning himself post shit.
Each year on the Fourth of July, my dog Wyatt shits himself empty as soon as the fireworks begin. Coincidentally, July 4th is his birthday. I used to take a token photo of him shitting himself in a Dora the Explorer party hat, his eyes rolled back in his adorable pinhead with fear, the windows behind him alight with patriotism. But after a couple years I had to admit that neither of our hearts were really in it, so I donated the Dora hat to some shit-covered child I know and bumped Wyatt's birthday to Thanksgiving.

The fact remains: Wyatt and most house pets—cats, dogs, miniature ponies—have a bone-shaking fear of fireworks. Not only are they prone to howling, hiding, and shitting all over the damn place, they're also liable to bolt like the wind if given half the chance.

So! Here's a handy list of tips on how to keep your pets as safe and calm as possible on the 4th, courtesy of Regional Animal Services of King County (RASK), along with info on who to contact should they bolt.

· Leave your dog/ferret/miniature show pony at home if you head out to a public fireworks display.

· Keep your pets crated or shut in a quiet, dark room of your house during the fireworks. Try relaxing them with some quiet Vivaldi or 15 minutes of manual stimulation (if he's into that kind of thing). Make sure they have plenty of water handy.

· If you live in an apartment/condo and are not comfortable with your pet shitting all over the damn place, bring them to my place do not let them off leash for any reason. It doesn't matter if you think the fireworks are over and your mutt likes his privacy while he squats; some asshole will still be lighting off rogues at 3:00am. Don't risk it.

· Also, if your dog/cat is normally an outside dog/cat/lizard/show pony, today is the day to make an exception. Don't leave your motherfucking pet outside where they are liable to freak out, dig a hole, and get pancaked by a car. Put them in the garage or basement at the very least.

· Make sure your pet is wearing identification, like a collar with tags or microchip or something.

· If right now you're thinking, "My pet doesn't mind fireworks, none of this shit applies to me," don't be an asshole. Some pets become sensitive to loud noises later in life. It takes next-to-no effort to make your pet comfortable and secure for a few hours.

· If your pet becomes lost, check in person at all the local shelters, repeatedly, over the next few days. (NOW DON'T YOU WISH YOU'D MICROCHIPPED YOUR PET???) Conversely, if you find an untagged pet wandering the street, don't keep it because you think it's "cute." That's someone else's pet, asshole, and if you're even considering keeping it, that just proves you're not mature or responsible enough to be a good pet owner. Take it to a shelter.

Now: Since July 4th is the most popular day of the year for animal jailbreaks, RASKC has joined with Missing Pet Partnership to train volunteers for the “Mission Reunite: Help and Hope for Lost Pets” program. Immediately after the holiday, volunteers will be deployed at the Pet Adoption Center in Kent to help owners looking for their stray pet. In addition, RASKC will keep its “Lost Pet Hotline” up to date.

People who are looking for a missing pet can call 206-296-PETS (7387) and press “3” for a list of strays currently at the center.

UPDATE: The lovely Katherine Schubert-Knapp points out that the number above is for animals found within King County but outside of Seattle. Here's a link to Seattle's city-run animal shelter and here's another link that highlights how to get emergency care for an injured animal.