Animal lover Arpana Gvalani owns and runs a pet-friendly restaurant, Gostana, in Bandra (W). Her golden retriever, Zizou, is spotted at the eatery every day. However, his daily routine is altered as the Diwali season approaches.
“Zizou comes to Gostana as it’s quieter than home. But during Diwali, he stays the nights at a friend’s place in Pali Hill, as they live at a higher level and in a quieter area. So it (the sound of firecrackers) is easy for him [to deal with], as compared to other dogs,” says Gvalani.
Not all canines are as loved or as lucky as Zizou. The shelterless strays on the streets are the most affected during such festive times. Priya Hebbar, co-founder, Youth Organisation in Defence of Animals (YODA), along with her team, conducts sessions on animal welfare for school and college students throughout the year.
“It’s important to sensitise people about animal welfare, especially during the festival season. During these sessions, we discuss how everyone can make sure they celebrate Diwali in a safe manner with the students. We encourage them to use noiseless crackers such as sparklers, ‘anar’ and ‘chakri’, among others. Diwali is the festival of lights, and we can definitely do away with the noisy firecrackers,” says Hebbar, adding, “Ninety-nine percent dogs get aggressive because they are scared of loud noises. Fortunately, YODA is situated in a place that is far away from all the noise, but we still ensure that the animals at our shelter are comfortable during the festival.”
But, if your pet still cannot bear the sound of firecrackers, Poonam Thaval, a pet grooming consultant, gives a solution for it. “It is best to give your dog the recommended dosage of anxiety medication, as it calms them down,” she says.