Whenever life gets a bit much – too many children rushing and screeching, too much vacuum cleaner action, strange visitors sitting on the (his) sofa – Teddy retreats under the coffee table. He’ll be there tonight – Bonfire Night – when the firecrackers and noisemakers make him jump and shiver with nerves.
It’s about this time of year that dark murmurs seep onto the social media feeds of animal lovers. With Diwali just gone and Bonfire Night upon us, there are plenty of dog owners who would like to ban all but professionally organised fireworks displays. I get it. Although I love seeing multicoloured pompoms glitter in the sky and I can watch Catherine wheels until I’m dizzy, the firecrackers and noisemakers make life hell for our pets.
How brilliant the Italian province in Parma that recently brought in laws forcing residents to use silent fireworks in order to lessen the stress to local animals. If the last few nights are anything to go by, Hampstead residents have not yet discovered the noise-free option. While there are many ways to help alleviate the stress of fireworks night for your dog, (see Dogs and Fireworks), we will be doing two things that work for Ted.
First, we’ll make up his customary, super-cosy nest. This year it will be tricked out in some style, using three of our Better Dog Blankets. We wind them round and pile them high to make one seriously cosy sanctuary. A couple of Teddy’s preferred fluffy toys will be woven in, and the whole lot stowed in his safe place, under the coffee table. Once he’s curled up tight, with his head tucked into the pile, the shivers abate and he’s just about oblivious. I’m happy to think that, quite aside from their lovely looks, our Better Dog Blankets – with all their softness and cosy heft – are sincerely valued.
The other precaution that we observe at this time of year in cracker-crazed Hampstead is a tip from The Dog Nanny: on evening strolls we ensure Teddy’s collar is tight enough that should he bolt, he won’t be able to slip it.