Ocean City Today

Fireworks and dogs

By Stewart Dobson | Jul 06, 2017



printed 07/07/2017


Fireworks are a wonderful thing, unless you’re a dog, in which case they signal the arrival of the apocalypse, the flipping of the earth’s poles, the complete destabilization of planetary orbits and other forms of impending doom that may be survived only by jumping in the bathtub and crawling up their own quaking little hinies and disappearing.

That, at least, is how my dogs react when they are surrounded by the sound of bombs bursting in air.

The flashes of light that precede these big booms are bad enough, as they view them thusly: “We’ve gone to code yellow! Run for your lives!”

In the meantime, you’re attempting to log some quality horizontal time in your recliner, only to be roused by the sudden presence of breath that could really use a mint, and pair of frog-like eyes about two inches from your own.

If Crazy Eddie could talk, he would say, “Follow me if you want to live!”

The other one is worse, which is what you would expect of a creature that knows it may be only a rattling window blind to you, but it’s really those double-bass “Jaws” notes that mean something large and hungry is about to eat you.

When the first clap of fireworks’ thunder occurs, their eyes seem to swim to the sides of their heads like flounders, as they transmit, via your standard dog telepathy, “Are we dead yet?”

A part of me understands the situation. Whenever a transformer blows in the neighborhood, I’ve gone up high enough from my chair for a dog to sneak in under me before gravity dictates that I return.

Going up on the transformer explosion and coming down on a dog, I’d like to point out, is not conducive to logging the aforementioned horizontal time in the recliner.

It defies the laws of physics, actually. Contrary to what Einstein, Stephen Hawking and other celebrated great minds will tell you, it turns out that, yes, you can jump twice while suspended in mid-air under certain very specific circumstances.

Okay, maybe technically not in “mid-air,” but you touch one whisker of the little beast just below you, and your feet don’t have to be planted on the ground for you to send yourself back up again.

This, of course, scares the you-know-what out of the dog, which yelps, scrambles and looks accusingly at you, as if to say, “Hey, I’ve just been through Big Boom Trauma and now your butt turns on me? What’s this world coming to?”

But what I don’t get is how a pair of dogs that can affix themselves to the crown molding on the ceiling during a fireworks show remain convinced that the only thing between them and the inevitable demise of the UPS truck by virtue of barking and the now infamous squeaky ball assault is the fence we so inconsiderately erected between them and the street.

If I could, I’d like to have a chat with them about it some day.

“How is it that you can handle a 10,000-pound UPS truck that rumbles by daily, but you head for the bathtub when fireworks explode?”

“That’s easy,” they reply. “It’s generally accepted wisdom that UPS trucks are particularly susceptible to the ‘Squeaky ball of Death’ technique.

“On the other hand, we don’t know what those big booms are, which means chances are the poles are flipping and the earth is hurtling toward the sun. See? It’s just simple logic.”

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