A Salford woman has begged neighbours to stop setting off fireworks, after daily bursts left her locked at home fearing for her and her dog’s safety.
Sharon Hooley, 47, lives with her support dog Emily, who also feels huge amounts of stress due to the constant stream of fireworks right outside their home.
“She shakes and pants, she’s so out of breath and doesn’t sit still. I worry about her so much”
“I’ve heard stories of dogs dying from the stress of the fireworks, through heart attacks and shock, she’s already 11 and I’m not ready to lose her”
Sharon has had Emily for over a decade and massively relies on her for support.
“I’m autistic, so I have meltdowns and anxiety attacks and she’s just so tuned into me it’s unbelievable, she knows exactly how to calm me down”.
Although the fireworks are causing Sharon real problems, there is little she can do due to the setting of off fireworks being legal.
“It’s when their being let off so close to the building, and I can’t exactly go out and tell them to stop because they aren’t doing anything illegal”
“Unfortunately, where I live there is a lot of kids, and they do set fireworks of most days. It’s not safe, so that means I’m housebound because I daren’t go out”.
Sharon understands people’s reasons for using fireworks but asks them to try to set them off in more open spaces, away from homes and wildlife.
“I can understand why they set them off, especially with Covid. They need a bit of excitement and something to take their mind off being cooped up, but they don’t understand the effects the fireworks cause to so many people”.
She hopes that in the future fireworks will only be legal at organised events, similar to the Australian Law.
However, until then, she asks that people try to stick to special nights such as Bonfire Night, to keep the amount of stress caused to a minimum.
“Bonfire night is bad enough for me because I don’t like loud noises due to my autism, so Emily knows I’m stressed and I know she’s stressed so it’s just a double whammy, but we can cope with one night, it’s when its daily it’s a real struggle”.
Fireworks are frightening to many, however dogs and other animals especially struggle with the loud bangs and unpredictableness, often triggering their fight or flight mode, or making them feel trapped and unable to escape the sound.
To help soothe your dog this bonfire night, please follow our short guide to try and minimise their stress. Or if you would like to find out more please visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/fireworks.