Dogs get boom out of Fourth of July

By Clyde Davis

The wisdom is passed down from dog generation to dog generation. As each new wave of furry, four-legged people comes along, the race of the sensitive ears and tender noses, the indoctrination speech is given.

“Beware the times that smell like sulfur and sound like thunder! Beware the times when humans celebrate with sticks that are scented rancid and cause loud, earsplitting booms! Large or small, fierce or timid, hyper or relaxed, all the breeds share in the warnings of what is to come.”

Thus did Dinky, our elderly Chihuahua, indoctrinate Bonnie when she was only a puppy, five years ago. This orientation took place most often just before he would run to hide under the nearest bed or couch, sensing the darkness and the incumbent fireworks. Then the venerable Dinky took himself on a walk one night, after an earthly journey of 15 years, and lay down at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, where dogs go to await the coming of their chosen human …

And so it was that after a period of mourning, and great sorrow in our hearts and the heart of Bonnie, there came Kassidy the Excitable into our lives and the story of July Fourth as understood by canines is now being passed down,from Bonnie unto Kassidy. In the stoic and rugged style of West Highland Terriers, in a voice that echoes of craggy cliffs and crashing cold North Seas, she began her tale several weeks ago, as the first harbingers of July Fourth were heard …

“Hsst, now, lass! Quit ye bouncin’ and listen; dinna much time before the wee human cooms out, an’ ye know he still young enough to unnerstand our language!”

“Oh Oh Oh!! Aunt Bonnie, why do they make those sounds that hurt our ears and stifle our noses? Does they like to torture us?”

“Nay, they doona know what they’rre doin. They doona think aboot our ears, forr themselves has such poor hearing. Nor do they think of ourr noses, for theirr own be so lackin’ in any skill to pick up scent. When I was a young pup, beforre me middle yearrs, I even heard tell that some humans forced theirr dogs to the celebrations, imaginin’ we’d like it.”

“Oroow!! You mean like loud noises and overwhelming scents, and then the smell of hot dogs that you ain’t allowed to eat or you’ll get spanked? How could they be so silly?”

“Do ye believe it, wee one? And a loud bangin’ rrock band, to boot. But ye know by now, perrceptive is what they aft are not.”

“OOwww! Aunt Bonnie, they is making the big booms sounds agin ! What are we to do?”

“Hush thee, little lass, and into our dog house, bein’ grrateful we have one. Yonder cooms the wee human, the Bearded One’s grandson, him that can still hear us and knows our language.”

A phone conversation overheard: “So I went out into my back yard, wanting to check on the dog before turning in for the night. Somebody down the block had been setting off fireworks, getting ready for the Fourth of July a bit early. I guess the noises bother her; you’d almost think she knew what time of year it was. And there she was, snuffing her nose up against the fence and growling back and forth with the Dachshund next door. Yeah, you’d almost think they were complaining about the fireworks, and then I thought, boy, how silly is that? Well, anyway …”

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: