When you light the fuse, spare a thought for the little doggie…

Fireworks and flowers Fireworks
Fireworks Fireworks

Generally, Halloween makes me think even better of my neighbourhood. The kids running around are terrifyingly cute, of course. And it’s hard not to get a warm feeling from the generosity and evident fun being had by the treat-givers as well (especially some of the older folk).

But another Vancouver tradition this time of year is less enjoyable. I have never lived in a Canadian city where selling and exploding fireworks is legal, much less so widespread. For a period of weeks, a firecracker can go off at any moment, and the evenings are a steady stream of explosions that often extend into the morning hours.

In previous years, I hadn’t thought much either way about the nightly banging, rattling, and whistling… It gave the city a certain pleasing, lawless atmosphere, and I certainly can understand the fun to be had in blowing stuff up.


Then we got a dog. Even sporadic firecracks can set him into an absolute panic, and when the steady Halloween barrage begins, well, the mental anguish is a sad thing to see… He quakes uncontrollably, cannot take comfort from us, wedges himself under furniture, jumps into the bathtub and tries to claw his way down through it…

We have since learned that our animal is not unusual. A great many dogs and cats experience similar panics this time of year, some of them so afraid to go outside for days that they suffer some truly gruesome problems with their digestive tracts… I can only imagine the effects on the wildlife in the city: the raccoons, the coyotes… and the birds are clearly being disturbed.

Last night was particularly hard on gentle, sweet Dexter. We were trying to find music on the stereo loud enough to mask the sounds but with some calming qualities as well. Then Keira remembered that Dex likes to sing along with the accordion:

This time, Dexter was too freaked to sing along, but the effects of the accordion were remarkably soothing. However, the calm was fleeting, the run of explosions outside was unrelenting. So we found ourselves in the wee morning hours lying in bed, desperate for sleep, taking turns playing the accordion, a quaking dog at our feet…

Not to be a killjoy, but I wish the annual firework party in Van Rock City didn’t involve cruelty to the creatures we share the space with…

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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