Readers Write: Parades can traumatize dogs

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Editor:

I’m sending this as a PSA for both resident and visiting dog owners: Please consider your pet’s best interest when deciding whether to attend the 4th of July Parade in Idyllwild together. It’s a wonderful event that we’ve enjoyed over many years, but in thinking like a dog and speaking just for myself, it’s not a great place for the pooches.

I won’t say that no dog likes a parade, but what’s fun for people is often scary, confusing and damaging to dogs — the extremely high noise level (sirens, car-horn blasts, wild screams of delight), the chaos of a crowd and hot asphalt on tender feet are not the stuff of most doggie dreams.

In past years I’ve witnessed much abuse by owners who didn’t notice or didn’t care about the effects of the scenario I’ve described. I’ve seen overheated, over-stimulated dogs who couldn’t explain their unhappiness at being dragged around the town for the amusement of others. A dog’s panting may indicate more than thirst, by the way — it also can be a sign of great stress.

I’ve also seen a few dogs who seemed to love the excitement, the attention and the novelty of dressing up as Uncle Sam, but in my experience, these are the exceptions. I hope owners will heed this warning, but if they do choose to bring along their dog, frequent shade breaks in a secluded area, with plenty of drinking water, could make the difference between a happy day and a miserable one. Just ask yourself, “Am I my dog’s best friend?” and act accordingly.

Lois Sheppard

Seal Beach/Idyllwild

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