Volunteers ease fireworks fears for shelter dogs

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Fireworks and our four-legged friends don't mix well. The loud noises can leave many dogs anxious and scared, which is why more than two dozen volunteers spent their Fourth of July holiday comforting dogs at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

"My dog was always terrified of fireworks. He would bark, cower, shake and it was just terrible," volunteer Ashley Huss said.

The loud pops and sounds from the fireworks is sheer terror for some dogs.

"It ramps up their stress levels and the put off pheromones when they're stressed and other animals pick up on them so everybody in the shelter they are sort of ramping each other up. Everybody is barking. Everybody is mowing. Everybody is scared," Humane Society of Tampa Bay volunteer manager Liz McCoy said.

To ease the tension, more than two dozen volunteers used their holiday to make their four-legged friends' holiday less stressful.

"Some of them just want to be held or snuggled. Some of them, if you play calming music, that can make a big difference," volunteer Ashley Arthur said.

The more 100 animals inside the shelter were all given an all-natural calming supplement days before. It's similar to mother's milk and helps to keep their anxiety levels down throughout the holiday weekend.

"I had a waiting list of people who wanted to come in and do this. It just warms your heart and makes you realize Tampa Bay loves their animals and that are volunteers are the best volunteers," McCoy said.

Volunteers were there from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. Officials say they plan to host a similar event during the New Year's Eve holiday.