31 October 2014

Bangers and bonfires

Apologies to anyone who has phoned CJS over the past week and has heard the odd muffled bang or screamer in the background.  It's nothing to worry about, it's simply Office Dog Hebe's firework desensitisation 'music' - as part of her therapy we play her recordings of fireworks at odd times with increasing frequency up to the actual day / event before knocking her out on a specially prepared herbal mix heavy in lavendar and valerian (we have a herbalist vet so it's perfectly safe, we wouldn't recommend mixing your own!) administered over the course of several days.  With the 'real' bonfire night falling in the middle of the week we have two weekends to deal with.
Fireworks by Kabir Bakie, via wikimedia commons
It's a shame she's so sensitive because I love fireworks! I have very fond memories of the smell of burning swede from the carved out candle lantern, teeth stuck together with McEwans Highland toffee and the scent of cordite hanging in the air as the magnificent fireworks exploded overhead at my Dad's school's organised display.  And nothing beats writing your name with a sparkler!
It's the first time we've had a firework phobic dog and it's been a real eye opener, before we started the herbal and desenstisation therapy she would dash about the house screaming with fear and run round and round rooms not quite managing the 'wall of death' feat but almost.  She is a highly strung dog, probably slightly overbred with 'lots of red' (meaning champions, field trialling in her case) in her pedigree and needs careful handling it doesn't take much to make her overexcited and her energy reserves seem to be pretty much inexhaustible unlike mine!  Despite her firework problem she's fine with virtually all other noises which is a relief but that makes the firework thing even more difficult to manage.
Fortunately, although they are still crackers, the pups are not bothered by fireworks and old duchess Maia is totally oblivious; completely the opposite of her late sister Juno who like me adored fireworks and would stand paws on windowsill watching each rocket scream skywards her tail wagging providing the canine oo's and ahs.
Needless to say after that little lot we're not having a bonfire.  However there are several heaps of leaves and general garden detritus scattered around - because of the work on the dog year we've not been able to get to the compost bins so the cuttings, clippings and tidyings up have been left in what were neat tidy heaps until the pups launched themselves with labradoric abandon into the middle of them.  Which saves me the task of checking for sleepy hedgehogs but does mean it all has to be collected up again, oh well.

Everyone has picked up on the hallowe'en theme the google doodle is tearing itself apart after dark, and there is lots of news about spiders (we've had enough of that in recent weeks) but also werewolves (yes really, read RSPCA news here), friendly bats and bat-sized Death's-head hawkmoths - think Silence of the Lambs (these two are in our news round up today).

So we'll sign off today by wished you all a Happy Hallowe'en or Spooky Samhain (whichever is your preference!). And whatever you're doing this weekend (or next) remember to check your bonfire for sleepy mammals, and amphibians too, before lighting them, sigh over the fireworks, sign your name in fiery sparkles, slurp the soup, munch the bangers (sausage variety not gunpowder) and have a wonderful time but spare a minute or two to think about all the animals, pets and wildlife alike, terrified out of their skins...