Bobby, a Border Collie from Sheddocksley in Aberdeen, ended up missing for over 24 hours after being spooked by fireworks when out walking.
The three-year-old dog was out for his evening walk with his owner, Dave Ritchie (69), when a firework unexpectedly went off. Bobby immediately panicked at the sound and bolted off into the distance.
“It was a quiet evening in October and I hadn’t expected fireworks to go off yet. Bobby was off the lead enjoying his walk, but as soon as he heard the bang he ran off, I had no chance of catching him.
“I spent hours looking for him, but with no luck. I was terrified he’d injured himself and that I’d never see him again.”
His owner spent the night searching and worrying over where his beloved dog could be. Fortunately, he turned up back at home the following evening, hungry and searching for food.
“I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see Bobby again,” added Dave. “Luckily he must have known the way home, but it could have ended very differently.
“We made a visit to the PDSA to check Bobby was okay, which thankfully he was. We also got lots of useful advice and some treatments to help Bobby with his fear of loud noises and especially fireworks.
“I’ve taken my vet’s advice, and we’re now walking Bobby during the daylight hours during the fireworks season. As he suffers severe anxiety we’re also going to try some calming products to help him settle down at this time of the year.”
PDSA Vet, Lesley Falconer, who works at the charity’s Pet Hospital in Aberdeen, said:
“Bobby is one of the lucky ones who returned home safely to his owner, but sadly this is not always the case. Our pets can easily become scared and go missing, putting them at risk of road accidents or other hazards. We’d always recommend checking your pet’s microchip details are up to date so any scared and missing pets can be reunited with their owners as quickly as possible.”
“Bobby’s story highlights how important it is to keep our pets safe at this time of year. Our pets have very sensitive hearing, so loud noises to us can be utterly terrifying to them, particularly as they don’t understand the source of the bright flashes and loud bangs. If your pet struggles to cope, get help as early as you can so you can prepare them”.
But Bobby is not alone in his fear. PDSA’s PAW Report has found 7.3 million cats and dogs (34% of cats and 40% of dogs) are afraid of fireworks, leaving the nation’s pets anxious and miserable throughout the firework season.
In light of this, PDSA has put together a FREE downloadable guide – packed with useful advice and tips – to help our four-legged friends cope better with fireworks: www.pdsa.org.uk/fireworks.
Thanks for including this Fiona – a timely reminder.
It’s also worth people remembering, that the wild animals can be as frightened by these noises and lights, as the domestic animals are – and they have nowhere to go, to be safe.
Then there are the animals who are outside, domesticated, but outdoors – sheep, cattle, and horses.
I could go on and on – but I needn’t. The proof is there – fireworks, if used randomly, can cause an awful lot of harm and distress.
It’s also worth considering the fact, and it is a fact, that military veterans can be nervous of loud bangs, and the fireworks season can be a hard time for them, too. Mike’s Dad has passed from this life now, but those very loud, explosive fireworks which are becoming more and more fashionable, made him jump. He was a man of courage, not just in his army career. He’d been through a lot, and didn’t deserve to have that carry on into civilian life.
Please, do, think about the animals, and the people too.
Organized, collective firework displays look more spectacular, and also can be more sociable.
They still can be frightening – but at least folk know when and where they are happening, and can take precautionary measures for themselves, and their animals.
I hate the fireworks, i would love to see them banned. Its not fair on dogs one bit. My dog gets so scared he tried to force himself into any small gap around the home that he can. Its a horrible thing to see my dog with his head wedged down the side of the cupboard. I feel sorry for you and glad you got him back. It must have been so stressful.