Can we please skip fireworks this year? Notes from a dog with more anxiety than you / by Carolyn Busa

Hey America. Can we please skip fireworks this year? I know this sounds like a selfish ask. “It’s once a year! You don’t get it. You’re just a dog!” But do we really need big, scary, loud fire in the sky this year? Can we admit there’s been enough big, scary, loud fire in our world to last us a few Independence Day celebrations?

My owner thinks she’s doing me a favor streaming WNYC for me all day while she’s at work. As if when she steps out the door, I hear BBC Newshour and think “Oh. This is comforting.” I’m not an idiot. Believe me, she sounds nothing like Brian Lehrer and even if I could call in on Fridays and ask the mayor what he plans on doing about that cat outside the window who I’m pretty sure is in constant heat, I can’t talk. It sucks.

But there is one nugget of comfort that has come from being forced to listen to stories about this screwed up little world of yours: You are all freaking out. From what I gathered, things are bad. Everyone is panicking. And I’m sorry but it’s, like, about time. Finally, humans of the world are getting on my level of anxiety. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear anything in the news about Trump and the border and guns and the Supreme Court and the world in general? That’s my entire life. You’re scared of nuclear war? I’m scared of my owner’s feet. 

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You’re scared of nuclear war?

I’m scared of my owner’s feet. 

The world is so scary! When I hear that rolling gate go down in front of the barber shop. Or when the loud buzz noise goes off in our apartment. I think, “This is it. Goodbye cruel world.” And so I bark and bark and bark but then it’s just a bookshelf my owner ordered or if I’m lucky, a pizza. And I love pizza! But at that point my anxiety is through the roof. I’m pacing. I’m out of breath. I need water. I have to pee and she’s just there singing her dumb pizza song: “I love pizza yes I do, I love pizza, I love you!” At the ‘you’ she’ll pat my nose, which I do appreciate, but what I’d appreciate more is a stress-free existence.

You humans have been lucky. For the most part, you know where your ‘loud noises’ come from. You can pinpoint your anxiety and make sense of it. And those of you that can’t, apparently pay these other 'therapist' humans to pinpoint it for you. Well, imagine if your therapist took the week off and told you to wear a Thundershirt. “I know you’re struggling with your mom’s inability to connect with you on a human level but here. Wear this. It’s velcro.”

I’m not celebrating that you all are miserable, but I am asking you to take advantage of your ability to comprehend. Comprehending the bad, scary things in this world is a blessing. Because not only do you understand it, you can do something about it! You can work to change it. What can I do? I’m an 8-year old brachycephalic French Bulldog that can’t stand the heat or clean my own junk.

Now that you humans are finally walking around in a familiar state of panic, I’m begging you to help make the over 400,000 of us in this city feel safe. If we truly are your best friends, deciding which rooftop party you’ll attend on the 4th should be an easy decision. None. Skip the fireworks and stay home with me. Rub my belly. We'll listen to All Things Considered and get through this nightmare together.


This essay was published on The Haven