Guide dog left 'rooted to the spot, shaking with fear' during fireworks
6 November 2019, 09:45
A woman has called for fireworks to be further regulated after her guide dog was left "shaking with fear" on Bonfire Night.
Guide dog owner Ellen Watson shared a video on social media of her guide dog, Skipp, who was left "rooted to the spot" when fireworks went off nearby on their walk back from her work.
The video shows Ms Watson trying to calm Skipp, who is too terrified to move after he was frightened by the loud noise of fireworks.
Ellen Watson said: "Not only do fireworks cause extreme distress for dogs & humans, they pose a risk to disabled people's safety. This has to stop. Fireworks NEED to be regulated."
This is my Guide Dog, on our way home from work at 5pm, rooted to the spot & shaking with fear after fireworks went off nearby. Not only do fireworks cause extreme distress for dogs & humans, they pose risk to disabled ppls safety. This has to stop. Fireworks NEED to be regulated pic.twitter.com/yAJs8rJZJV— Ellen Watson (@EllenWatson95) November 4, 2019
Skipp's owner went on to say that her dog's welfare is her number one priority, so she changed her work schedule for the rest of the week to ensure she and Skipp are home before dark.
The incident occurred unexpectedly at 5pm on Monday night. On Bonfire Night on Tuesday Ms Watson ensured they were home for 3pm "cuddled up listening to TV and music to keep Skipp calm."
FYI this happened on Monday night at 5 (so unexpected). I’ve since changed my work schedule so I’m home before dark the rest of the week. On bonfire night we were home for 3 & spent last night cuddled up listening to tv & music to keep Skipp calm, so he is safe & doing fine ♥️ pic.twitter.com/1VG7E6yl1E— Ellen Watson (@EllenWatson95) November 6, 2019
Ms Watson described Skipp as "an incredible guide dog, who keeps me safe daily and is the centre of my world."
Skipp, who has his own Twitter account, posted that the incident was "particularly scary for me."
Ellen Watson's video was retweeted over 5,000 times and her post was inundated with comments of support from people on social media.
One user wrote: "Absolutely heartbreaking. Time to stop sale of fireworks to general public. They cause so much worry, fear, and damage. He's a beautiful boy, your sweet guide dog."
Another wrote: "This is so sad to see, hope you're home safe Ellen & she's settled down, it's so stressful for you both. We need silent fireworks & organised displays & hopefully we can reduce the random fireworks by not selling to the public! Take care."
The fireworks went on until very late last night, which was particularly scary for me. Mum let me snuggle up close with her so I felt safe ♥️ pic.twitter.com/rQ8nKQsYBR— Skipp The Guide Dog (@Skipperooo1) November 4, 2019
Other social media also shared videos of their pets hiding and "petrified" by fireworks.
The incident comes after a puppy died of heart attack after being scared by fireworks, prompting an outpouring of sympathy across social media from pet lovers.
The RSPCA's #BangOutOfOrder campaign has called for fireworks regulations to be changed to protect animal welfare. The charity says 62 per cent of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks, 54 per cent of cats and 55 per cent of horses.
Last month Sainsbury's was widely congratulated by animal welfare groups for becoming the first major British retailer to stop selling fireworks.
A spokesperson for the Dogs Trust said: "We congratulate Sainsbury's on their decision not to sell fireworks this year and would encourage others to do the same."