Nae Fireworks party 'a godsend' for stressed dogs

By Katie McEvinney
BBC Scotland news

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Image source, Lynda Mcconnell
Image caption,
Five-year-old Mylo was one of hundreds of dogs who took part in the event

Hundreds of dogs attended a special "Nae Fireworks" party at a wind farm outside Glasgow to get respite from the stress and anxiety of Bonfire Night.

The event at Whitelee, near Eaglesham, has grown in popularity since it began in 2017.

It aims to provide a sanctuary where dogs and their owners can escape from the impact of fireworks.

Lynda Mcconnell described the event as "an absolute godsend" for her five-year-old Labrador, Mylo.

She said she had "tried everything" in recent years to help her pet, including thunder shirts, herbal tablets and soothing music.

Image source, Whitelee Countryside Rangers Service
Image caption,
About 1,000 people attended with their dogs on Bonfire night

"The vet prescribed diazepam and sedation gel, but once his adrenalin kicked in he would bark for hours non-stop, running at the front and back door and jumping at it trying to get outside," she said.

"This event is an absolute godsend for us."

She was one of about 1,000 people who brought their dogs along to this year's firework-free event on Bonfire Night.

Reiki sessions for dogs

The loud bangs from fireworks can cause dogs and other pets to become anxious and stressed.

During the event, the Whitelee Ranger Service patrols the surrounding area to make sure that no fireworks are being let off.

A torchlit, guided walk with between 100 and 200 owners took place through the wind farm, safe from any bangs that could unsettle the dogs.

The visitor centre stayed open until midnight and dog Reiki sessions were on offer to calm, relax and soothe the animals during the night.

The ranger service said that fireworks could disturb wildlife and livestock as well as pose a threat to wind farm infrastructure.

Rangers initially started to patrol the farm looking for fireworks because of the risk that they can start peat bog fires, which can burn for years.

The idea for the Nae Fireworks event developed after they realised how many dog walkers sought refuge at Whitelee over the bonfire period.

Rennie Mason, one of the rangers and organisers of the event, said it had been "a roaring success".

"You only need to see the state of the dogs when they arrive and see how happy they are when they leave to realise the value for their health and welfare.

"It is also for the owners too. They often feel so powerless."