The July 4th Parade yesterday was great fun, as always — for most of us who watched — but part of the crowd was miserable.
I speak of the dogs who were subjected to the heat, crowd and noise, but had no choice in the matter. As a part-timer with two dogs, I appreciate Idyllwild’s dog-friendly atmosphere, and I enjoy taking our pups around town and hiking when possible.
However, the very things that make a parade exciting for humans can be confusing, scary and painful to our canine companions. The close encounters with horns, sirens and gunshots over two hours is punishing for them, and although I noticed some owners cuddling their pets to calm them, a better solution would have been to leave the scene or leave the dog at home to begin with.
I also saw a tired and frightened little fellow practically dragged behind its owner towards the end of the parade, in danger of being stepped on from behind until my friend alerted the person on the other end of the leash.
On the other hand, the dogs in the parade were strategically placed away from noisy cars, and seemed to be perfectly happy to take part in the festivities. I’m sure ARF and Living Free, and other participants with dogs, took canine personalities and experience into consideration before joining the parade.
Please take a hint, people, if you love your pets: think like a dog, and ask if your plan to attend certain events would really be fun for them, or is just a whim. Some dogs would love a parade, but not all, by any means!
Dogs must have good manners in company and can be desensitized to loud noises, but to suddenly expose one (especially inexperienced puppies, timid or senior dogs) to the chaos of a parade is simply uncaring and cruel. The same goes for attendance at any crowded event, like the summer concerts we enjoy — the lively music and dancing please us, but the same may not be true for our pets.
So consider your own dog when deciding whether it’s sensible to “go public” and make it a happy time for all.