I’m not too sure I like holidays, but I definitely know I didn’t like the 4th of July! I’m still recovering. I just couldn’t bring myself to write my blog because I think I’m suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I looked it up on Google. I have all the symptoms: increased reaction to being startled, hypervigilance to threat, phobia to places and experiences (like my backyard at night). The 4th was just awful! I’m still a wreck!! There I was, July 4th weekend, minding my own business sniffing in my yard. I had just squatted to relieve myself when suddenly the sky above me exploded. I heard my person exclaim something to the effect of “Oh, SH*T!” – but I was already on my way to the back stairs heading for the safety of my house. There was no way I was going to listen to my person and squat for such a private, biological process when the whole world was obviously blowing up. I love my people but I think they have a strange set of priorities sometimes!
Once inside, my people tried to reassure me telling me I was safe. I didn’t find them overly reassuring given that the booms from outside were enough to rock the house. Were my people hard of hearing? Were they blind? Didn’t they hear the ear-splitting noise or see the flashes of light? It was like a thunderstorm without rain. Okay, for the record, I don’t much care for thunderstorms but at least they don’t go on for hours. My teeth rattled. All I could do was shake and try to hide (which is hard to do for a medium-sized, 50lb canine in a tiny house!). My people tried to give me some holistic remedy which was supposed to ‘calm’ me. It didn’t work. I am not a proud canine – I have no problem admitting that I’m not always the bravest dog on four feet. If I had known what the 4th of July weekend entailed I would have told them, “Call my Vet!” I would have been happy to take canine Centrax, Ativan, Xanax – anything that worked!!
The next day my people and I took a long ride to a mountain in Western Massachusetts. I thought they were just taking me for a ride to get my mind off the fireworks, but it turned out that my people were trying to teach me what the 4th of July was really about. The mountain they took me to was Mt. Greylock the highest point in Massachusetts. My people are arthritic so we drove up the summit road to an elevation of 3,491 feet. My person said the mountain was once higher but the glaciers took the top off when they went back to Canada. I guess they didn’t read the signs on the summit about taking only photos.
It was a crystal clear day so once at the top we could see for miles. The first thing I noticed however was this huge monument. It looked a little like a lighthouse. My people said a lot of people think that too, but there is no truth to a legend that it was a lighthouse Boston didn’t want anymore. Seeing that Boston can be historical hoarders, it would be hard for me to think they would just give away a lighthouse, so my people are probably right. The monument had an inscription they read for me:
“Erected by Massachusetts in grateful recognition of the loyalty and sacrifice of her sons and daughters in war”
I didn’t understand what war was, so my person explained that it was when humans got into disagreements over possessions, beliefs or power. Some humans got into wars simply to protect themselves from other humans. They explained that it was like being at the dog park when a fight broke out because some canine wasn’t sharing the toys or was picking a fight to show everyone they were top dog. Some dogs fight to protect themselves from the other dogs. The difference is people fight with guns and bombs not teeth. I was dismayed to find that we are in a war now. There are men and women who deal with gunfire and bombs going off all the time. They must be scared. They must suffer from an increased reaction to being startled, hypervigilance to threat, and have phobias too. Only they don’t have their people to comfort them.
My ancestors (proud English Foxhounds who resided with George Washington) braved the American fight for Independence. I‘m sure they were afraid of the bombs and guns too – but they believed in a ‘land of the free and a home of the brave’. They found their inner wolf, brave and strong. I can write this blog, free to express myself because of what they valued and fought for. Young folks, canine and human, can grow up dreaming of being famous like me because of the sacrifice of others. I may only be facing fireworks, thunderstorms and back-firing cars, but I’ve decided to honor our veterans by vowing to be brave! I will stand tall, proud…Oh Sh*t what was that??? Oh well, I guess I’ll have to keep working on the brave thing…