Sussex dog lovers help to save pets from firework terror

Two Sussex dog lovers have launched a new scheme to help keep pets safe from fireworks.

Dog trainer Jo Loft and friend Susie Peters have set up Facebook page where people can share details of where and when fireworks will take place - enabling pet owners to keep their dogs calm and safe indoors.

Susie said: “The home fireworks displays are actually what cause the biggest problem to pet owners because you never know where they are and they could be going off just a few doors away from you at anytime over the next three months.”

She added: “It is the unpredictability of home fireworks that is so hard for pet owners as nobody sticks to ‘Bonfire Night’ anymore so they will be going off from October through to New Year’s Eve.

Bonnie and Darcie

“If you know they’re happening you can prepare and try and prevent your dog hearing them in the first place or create a settling environment for them. “Unfortunately most of the time it’s just an unpleasant surprise.”

Susie herself has two dogs - a three-year-old Dachsund x Basset Griffon called Darcie and 19-month-old Golden Retriever Bonnie.

“Fortunately Bonnie isn’t too concerned about fireworks, she will happily ignore them,” said Susie. “Sadly Darcie gets in quite a state.

“She was fine with them until about two years ago when out for our evening walk in the middle of November somebody let off a huge rocket in their back garden just as we were walking past.

“The noise was so loud and she was just terrified, she tried to run all the way home. After that she panics as soon as she hears them.

“Darcie will go and hide in a corner if they are really close by and just shake.

“I have been working hard to try and desensitize her and now she will tend to come and cuddle up on my lap on the sofa. She has got herself in such a state before she was vomiting up bile.

“It’s so sad to see them suffer.”

But, said Susie, it is not just dogs that suffer but also cats and wildlife. “They must be absolutely petrified.

“You hear of horses escaping their stables and just running and getting killed.

“They go into flight mode and just run scared.”

Susie helps moderate the new Facebook page set up by friend Jo Loft who runs The Paws Group offering canine help and advice.