Catherine Leacy and Guide Dog Ivan FundraisingCatherine Leacy, has had impaired vision since her early childhood because of a congenital metabolic blood condition. She trained with her Guide Dog Ivan in 2011 and is kindly sharing her frightening experience with bangers during the Halloween period last year. Catherine and her Guide Dog, Ivan, pass a secondary school on route to the bus stop to get to work. Catherine and her Guide Dog, Ivan, were startled by pupils throwing bangers towards them as they passed by.

Catherine says, “I was more afraid for Ivan’s safety than my own safety”. Catherine and Irish Guide Dogs contacted the school to make the principal aware of the incident. Thankfully the principal took immediate action and put frequent announcements over the school intercom making the pupils aware there will be repercussions if the pupils harass Catherine and her Guide Dog again with bangers or any other Halloween paraphernalia.

Catherine says, “After the incident Ivan kept looking behind whenever they passed the school but thankfully he has stopped doing this as there have been no other incidents”. We would like to remind our supporters of how Halloween can be a difficult time for our Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs, so please do advise people in your locality of how bangers and fireworks cause undue stress to our amazing dogs: and follow the advice we provide below to keep your own dog comfortable over the Halloween period.

We would like to thank Catherine for letting us hear her Halloween experience as it helps us to create better awareness of how important it is for people to not spook our working dogs with bangers and fireworks.

Happy Halloween from Velda the Brood Bitch
Happy Halloween from Velda the Brood Bitch

Halloween can be spooky for our dogs follow these tips to make sure they are ok!

1.    Dogs do not like fireworks, so ensure to get plenty of exercise before dark, this will minimize the exposure and tire the dog so that they will be more relaxed and more likely to sleep through the evening.

2.    After dark dogs should be kept indoors as much as possible.

3.    Confine pets to the general living areas rather than quieter areas such as hallways or bedrooms.

4.    Leave the radio and TV on to drown out some of the external noises and pull your curtains this will help to reduce visual exposure to fireworks.

5.    Do not scold, or fuss over, a nervous dog as this only exacerbates the situation and can reinforce the behaviour.

6.    If a dog is particularly stressed, we recommend treating them with natural remedies available from vets and pharmacies.

7.    Remember no tricks and no treats for your dog, chocolate is not safe for your pet so do not share any with the dogs.

8.    Consider putting a thunder shirt on your dog as a comforter if it is showing signs of stress over Halloween, such as panting or shaking.