5 tips for keeping dogs and cats safe during New Year’s fireworks celebrations | Entertainment/Life

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, this is my yearly public service announcement that fireworks — the loud bangs and booms, screeching sounds and bright flashes of lights — can be terrifying for pets. Even those that are normally not bothered by loud sounds or lightning and thunder can become stressed by fireworks.

Dogs that are experiencing fireworks-induced anxiety may show it in a number of ways. Learn to recognize the signs, including: whining or barking, panting, trembling, shaking, pacing, hiding, trying to escape, decreased appetite, drooling, potty accidents, dilated pupils or wide eyes and even vomiting.

Jan. 1 and July 5 are guaranteed days of lost pets. Social networks will be filled with posts of lost and found animals. This is because some pets go into flight mode to escape the stress and panic of fireworks, and they try to get as far away from the noise as possible.

Here are five tips to keep pets safe and secure this New Year’s Eve:

1. Secure the home and yard ahead of time. Fireworks celebrations often start a few days before and last several days after New Year’s Eve. It is best to make adjusts to the regular routine and use extra precautions for the days surrounding a fireworks holiday.

2. Take potty breaks early. If a dog is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the festivities have started, so make sure all potty breaks are taken care of before the action begins. If a dog needs to go out during the celebration, bring him outside on a leash to prevent the urge to bolt. Even if the yard is fenced in, a terrified dog can quickly dig out or jump the fence. Also, allow for accidents. If away from home, do not be surprised if the dog has been destructive or has a potty accident, as these are ways of coping with stress.

3. Leave the pets at home. It is never a good idea to take a dog to a fireworks display or to have them outside when setting off fireworks. Some dogs try to chase and catch the fireworks and can be seriously injured.

4. Inside is best. Provide pets with a safe, quiet and secure area within the house. This is especially important if no one will be home with the pet. Turning up a television or radio to help buffer the noise from outside will also help minimize stress.

5. Identification is a must. Make sure pets are wearing collars and ID tags with up-to-date information. This is a good time to make sure pets are microchipped and that the chip is registered with your current contact information.

In severe cases of anxiety or fear, seek advice from a veterinarian, as medication may be needed. The last thing we want is for an already frightened dog to be in distress and roaming the streets.

Finally, after all the fun is said and done, check the yard for any fireworks debris before letting the pets out so they do not ingest anything harmful.

Let’s ring in 2022 with all family members — including the furry ones — safe, healthy and accounted for!

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer coordinator for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For topic suggestions, email animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com or for more info on ARNO, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.

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Donately App Enables Hassle-Free Charitable Giving

MIDDLETOWN, Del., Jan. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Donately has found the perfect answer for hassle-free charitable giving. Many people have favorite causes that they would like to donate to; however, good intentions only go so far. To most, supporting charitable causes requires funds or time that may be in short supply. Donately has the answer!

To benefit charities through Donately, all users have to do is download the free Donately app and simply use their phone as they normally do. Users will be able to make donations – at no cost to themselves – simply by swiping to open their lock screen, watching a video, or looking at an ad.

“At Donately, we understand that sometimes charity can feel like a chore,” says one partner. “We are all so busy with our daily lives it’s easy for it to feel challenging to take the time or find the money to give back. We decided to create an app that could revolutionize charitable giving and could be easily used by anyone with an Android phone. Through installing the app, you can generate points just for using your phone and redeem those points with one of our global charity partners.”

How Donately works

Users have many options for helping their favourite charitable cause. Installing the app and enabling the lock screen earns points that can be used to plant trees, shelter animals, feed the hungry, and so much more. They can earn more points by sharing with friends – points translate to cash donations, meaning it is simpler than ever to make a meaningful difference at no cost to users.

Anyone can download the app to their phone for free from the Google Play Store, and create a profile to start raking up points and helping their chosen cause – without any hit to their wallet. Donately tracks the impact donations make; users can view the number of meals provided, trees planted, etc., so they can instantly tell the impact they’re making.

Donately partners with a number of charities; every 300 points a donor makes – just by using their phone – is redeemed for meaningful donations. Donately also partners with Pledge, who do all of the integrating, so no cash is handled. Pledge ensures that all points are redeemed quickly and efficiently.


Examples of causes currently supported include: provision of meals for the hungry; providing safe drinking water; planting trees to help fight climate change; and animal rescue:


When users join Donately, they become part of a greater community of like-minded people, all helping to make a difference.

The Donately team is rethinking charity. Often, when people hear “charity” they think of donating either money or hours of their time. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to donate their time and money is able to.

“We wanted to change this, focusing on specific, high-value impacts for members to redeem points towards,” added the development team. “It has never been easier for members to find a cause important to them and demonstrate their support.”

Changing the world shouldn’t be a chore; join the Donately community and make an impact today.

Media contact:
Tom Riley

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Hudson River Seal from Maine Calls Upstate Lighthouse Home

Seals are interesting mammals. They are playful and smart. As a fisherman, seals are a hassle and can often ruin a good fishing spot. They are hunters and will travel great distances to find food. Seals love to eat.

Harbor seals can be spotted, especially in the spring time, as far north as the City of Albany. Seals generally live in saltwater. Tell that to ‘Harbor Seal #246.’ When you hear his journey, you’ll think he deserves a better name.

According to multiple news reports, 246 was seen swimming in the Hudson River on New Years Day by kayakers. They spotted the seal somewhere between Malden and the Saugerties Lighthouse. It’s not the first time the seal has been seen in the Hudson around that lighthouse.

In fact, according to an article in the freemanonline.com by Patricia R. Doxey “the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the sea mammal seems to have made the waters around Saugerties its home.“It is a story like none we have ever heard of … a marine mammal showing such extended affinity and fidelity to freshwater,” Tom Lake, of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Almanac, said in an email Monday. Lake said the male seal, which authorities believe was abandoned as a pup by its mother, was first discovered shortly after its birth on Lower Goose Island, Harpswell, Maine, on April 28, 2018.”

Roxey’s story continues that 246 was rescued and “brought to the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Program in Connecticut, where it received medical treatment and was tagged before being released at Charlestown, Rhode Island, on Jan. 17, 2019. Satellite tag images show that instead of heading out to the ocean, the seal decided to make its way up the Connecticut River. When it was unable to get past the Holyoke Dam, the seal headed back downriver to the Long Island Sound, and eventually made its way into the Hudson River, ultimately settling in the Esopus Creek on Aug. 21, 2019. For 620 days the seal remained in the creek, Lake said, where it was “faithfully monitored” by Saugerties Lighthouse Keeper Patrick Landewee.”

Roxey explains that 246 left the Esopus this past April short before the harbor seal’s 3rd birthday and was basically missing until the tagged harbor seal was discovered off Long Island’s Atlantic Beach, where, according to Patricia R. Roxey, “it was picked up by the rescue program director at the New York Marine Rescue Center.”

The seal remained at the rescue center for about two months for treatment before being released on August 14, 2021, into Hampton Bays where it was expected to head back to sea. Instead, Lake wrote, the seal embarked on the 210-mile journey back upriver to Saugerties where, on Aug. 25, 2021, Landewe “welcomed him home.”

246 is has made the Saugerties lighthouse his home for now. According to Tom Lake, of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Almanac, the male seal has spent 878 days in the area in its short life. It seems like 246 likes living in Upstate New York. Maybe has earned a name, like Henry or Hudson. That’s for a topic for another day.




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Baby it’s cold outside, even for pets, so have a plan in place for them during freezes | Entertainment/Life

Winter finally has made its way here, with temperatures switching abruptly from the 80s to below freezing and back again. It just proves that we always need to have cold-weather preparations in place for our pets.

Contrary to popular belief, pets are not protected from the cold just because they have fur. While their coats may provide a minimal amount of protection, cats and dogs feel the cold just like we do. If it’s too cold for us, it’s too cold for them.

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, frostbite and even death in animals.

Here are some things to consider in your cold-weather plan.

BRING THEM INSIDE: Dogs that are outside should be brought indoors in the event of a freeze. If pets absolutely cannot be brought inside, make sure there is adequate shelter from the elements. The shelter needs to be warm, protected from wind and rain, and raised off the ground.

Elevating the doghouse a few inches will prevent moisture from coming in through the floor. A flap opening or positioning away from the wind will help keep the warmth in.

Doghouses should not be overly large and should have warm bedding such as dry, clean towels or blankets. Bedding will need to be changed frequently. 

FERAL COLONIES AND OUTDOOR CATS: For colony caretakers, leave a garage door cracked so cats have a warm place to go. If the colony is away from the home, have provisions such as bins or boxes propped up sideways and containing warm bedding such as blankets or hay so there is a warm retreat.

KNOCK ON THE CAR HOOD: Neighborhood cats tend to curl up in tire wheel wells and under the hoods of cars to escape the cold weather, so make it a habit to knock on the hood before starting the car to ensure a hidden cat is not injured or taken on an unplanned road trip.

FRESH WATER: Pets need access to fresh, clean water at all times as they can become dehydrated, even in winter. Watch that the drinking water does not freeze.

SKIN CARE: Cold weather can cause dry, flaky skin for pets, just like it does for people. Try to limit baths as washing a pet too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance for dry skin.

KEEP CHEMICALS OUT OF REACH: Keep pets away from toxic items such as antifreeze and rat poisoning — two items that are frequently used during colder months. It is always a good idea to keep all toxic items well out of reach of pets and children all year long.

Do not leave a pet outside to suffer through the cold. Pets need proper shelter from severe temperatures and access to warm areas. According to Louisiana statute RS14:102.1, it is simple cruelty to animals to fail to provide proper shelter.

Proper shelter means “providing each animal with adequate shelter from the elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal.” If an animal is spotted outdoors during a freeze without adequate shelter, please alert your parish shelter or proper authority immediately.

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer coordinator for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For topic suggestions, email animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com or for more info on ARNO, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.

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