A disabled woman was left vulnerable when fireworks scared her guide dog and caused him to become rooted to the spot.
Ellen Watson, who works as a clerk in the House of Commons, shared a video of her lovely labrador, Skipp, shaking with fear after the colourful rockets went off when they were out walking.
Though fireworks are common around this time of year, Ellen explained they were let off in the late afternoon the day before Bonfire Night, so neither she nor Skipp were prepared for the loud bangs.
See the video of the guide dog here:
On Twitter, the University of Sheffield graduate explained she took the video while on her way home from work at 5pm on Monday, November 4.
Ellen could be seen attempting to pull Skipp up from where he’d sat in the street, but the frightened dog resisted. His owner eventually managed to get him to his feet but the guide dog still refused to move, leaving Ellen vulnerable.
As a result of the incident, Ellen changed her work schedule for the rest of the week to ensure she and Skipp would be home before dark, meaning they should be able to avoid the fireworks.
Ellen called for stricter regulations surrounding the sale of the rockets as she pointed out animals aren’t the only ones put at risk when they’re let off.
Not only do fireworks cause extreme distress for dogs & humans, they pose risk to disabled ppls [sic] safety. This has to stop. Fireworks NEED to be regulated.
The dog owner stressed Skipp’s actions after hearing the fireworks weren’t common for the labrador, saying in ‘normal circumstances’ he is ‘an incredible guide dog’ – so much so she created a Twitter account to share his highlights.
In her Twitter thread, Ellen explained:
[Skipp] keeps me safe daily & is the centre of my world. If you want to see just how wonderful he is & how much I care for him, you can follow his twitter account.
After seeing Skipp’s reaction on Monday, Ellen decided to take extra precautions on Bonfire Night, when the sound of fireworks is essentially inevitable.
In an attempt to keep the dog calm, the owner made sure they were both home by 3pm and put on both the television and some music to drown out the sound of explosions.
Thanks to Ellen’s concern, Skipp was much less stressed on Bonfire Night and the Westminster worker shared a picture of the pup looking content and cosy.
The owner explained she herself loves fireworks but she argued both animals and people who rely guide dogs need to be taken into consideration.
On Twitter, she wrote:
Dogs are often life changing or life saving for people (especially assistance dogs). I’m not sure 5 mins of colourful popping has the same meaning for ppl [sic]. I love fireworks, just wish they’d stick to bonfire night and New Years so I can make plans for [Skipp].
A number of social media users expressed their concern after seeing Ellen’s video, so much so Skipp himself took to Twitter to share his story and reassure followers he’s much better now.
Of course, Ellen probably had to help Skipp send the tweets.
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.
Another tweet said:
I’m doing ok all, thanks everyone for asking.
Skipp’s reaction to the fireworks is likely one many pet owners will be familiar with at this time of year, but neither animals nor their owners should have to be affected by them.
The explosions put Ellen at risk and she had to change her entire work schedule to make Skipp feel safe. While many people might consider fireworks as nothing more than a pretty attraction, they can have a real impact on day-to-day life.
Skipp isn’t the only dog to have suffered as a result of fireworks, as earlier this week an 18-week-old puppy had a heart attack after hearing the explosions.
An online petition is calling for a review of the rules surrounding firework sales to protect animals from injury and distress – you can sign it here.
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Topics: Animals, Dog, Fireworks
CreditsEllen Watson/Twitter and 1 other
Skipp The Guide Dog/Twitter