I approached this Independence Day by ignoring it. I hoped that by pretending like everything was normal and nothing was happening outside, my pets would survive without injuring themselves. I gave Midge her anxiety pill as a precaution, and she passed out. I think that and her deafness got her through the night. Scrappy was also unaffected due to his deafness. Stewie was on edge, perched on the back of the couch watching the sky light up outside and growling at the explosions. At one point, he decided he had enough and ran to the bedroom to bury himself under the covers. Getting him to pee outside was impossible with explosions going on all around us. The house smelled like urine, so I knew I'd have a week ahead of me of heavy sanitizing.
In years past, the horses seemed to handle the fireworks pretty well, so I wasn't concerned about them. I went outside around 10 PM to let them out of their stalls, like I do every night. Bombay was visibly nervous.
Right when I was removing his fly mask, some idiots drove up the street honking their car horn and throwing firecrackers out their window. That was too close for comfort for Bombay and he bolted out of his stall, up the barn aisle, and across the arena. Lostine and Rock were already out of their stalls at that point and they took off with him. Gabbrielle was the only horse still locked in her stall, and she was running in circles, occasionally attempting to jump the railing. I knew I had to get her out of there fast before she hurt herself, so I threw the gate open and she took off like a race horse, kicking a rock up into my eye.
A piece of manure also landed in my mouth. Yuck.
The horses were racing around the arena, and the next thing I knew, Rock and Bombay were in a full on kill-or-be-killed battle, kicking, striking, and biting each other. I grabbed a rock off the ground and charged them to break it up. I knew Rock was the instigator, so I took off after him and chucked the rock at him, totally missing, but getting my point across.
I asked for Gabbrielle's help in keeping the boys under control, but something about her seemed a little off. She charged Rock, only to stop short of him, spin in a circle, lay down and roll. She had an upset stomach. Once she was done with her roll and rose up, all three horses gathered around Gabbrielle, looking to her for leadership, while Gabbrielle watched me, waiting to see how I was reacting to all of these explosions around us.
I audibly exhaled, and all the horses lowered their heads and settled down. I shut off all the lights and headed back to the house trying to be as Zen as possible. My jerkwad neighbors were lighting up strings of firecrackers in the street while their dog barked non-stop. Then I heard some animal screech as if it were being tortured. These are the neighbors who tore up our land in their souped up golf cart, and when my husband told them to stop, they came to our house and stood on our doorstep calling him names.
Remember those two young men on dirt bikes who have been sneaking around my street, trying to get out on the bridle trails? Well, I finally figured out that was those jerkwad neighbors. They bought a couple of off road motorcycles. Several evenings in a row I noticed the horses alerting to the north, and when I stepped outside, I heard what sounded like a chainsaw on my next door neighbor's patio. I thought the neighborhood burglar was stealing more of their statues, so I went over to investigate, only to find that the noise was actually coming from two doors down. However, there was thick foliage between where I was standing and their back yard, so I couldn't see what they were doing. It turned out that they were working on motorcycle engines.
I figured that out a few nights later when I could clearly hear someone racing a motorcycle around in their back and front yards. However, it sounded like they were also in my next door neighbor's vacant lot, which they used to do on ATVs until my neighbors erected an expensive fence all the way around the lot to keep them out. They had actually made a driveway for themselves across my next door neighbor's property and had been parking their vehicles there like they owned it. I wouldn't put it past them to take down a section of fence and start using it as a motocross track now that my neighbors have moved out of state.
So, two nights in a row I tried to sneak over there with my zoom lens camera to catch them in the act of trespassing on my next-door neighbor's land before calling the police. I wanted visual proof, because the police are notoriously slow in responding to calls. However, somehow, some way, the motorcyclists saw me coming, shut off their engines, and hid. I decided that next time I hear their engines, I will approach from the arroyo with my camera, because they'll be expecting me to come down the street.
Anyway, it's no surprise that people who are rude enough to tear up their neighbors' land with off road vehicles are also rude enough to scare the hell out of all the animals in the neighborhood by setting off firecrackers all night long. My next door neighbor calls them "The Beverly Hillbillies", because those neighbors are super low class, but somehow got the money to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood and ruin it for everyone else.
In the morning I went down to the barn to assess the damage. Bombay had a swollen bite mark on his flank. Rock had a cut on his leg that was still bleeding, probably from Bombay kicking him after Rock bit him. I broke out the first aid kit and fly deterrent, because the entire wound was swarming with flies.
Who says a few fireworks never hurt anyone?
I'm all for celebrating Independence Day, but can we do it without explosions? Fireworks mimic the sounds of war, which can be terrifying for war veterans suffering from PTSD as much as it is terrifying for animals. The biggest thing I miss about my old neighborhood where I lived before this is that all fireworks were illegal. If someone wanted to experience them, they had to drive to South Lake Tahoe where a designated show was put on by licensed professionals. Anyone caught setting off fireworks without a license was arrested.
Here in Arizona, every year we get more and more private firework displays being put on by random homeowners having parties, as well a people illegally shooting bullets in the air, not caring where they came down. They keep the paramedics and firefighters busy, but their patriotism is more important to them than safety, so there seems to be no sign of peace and quiet on the horizon for as long as I live here through another Independence Day and New Years Eve.