Las Fallas are not for cats or dogs | Valencian Community | Spain | The USA Print

chuck he is terrified of firecrackers. As soon as he hears one on the street he starts to shake, nervous. He comes down with diarrhea. He only calms down when he comes home and hides under a bed or in the bathroom. TO Niuhowever, does not seem to care too much about the noise of the masclets. She turns in surprise and tries to identify the source of the explosion and, if she can, she pounces on the embers. chuck It is a small dog of the schnauzer breed and Niu, a medium labrador retriever. They both live in the center of Valencia, the epicenter of the Fallas, in which firecrackers are an essential part of their idiosyncrasy.

The festivities line up their big week that concludes with the cream of the monuments on March 19. But from day 1 there is already a very fallas atmosphere and they go off every day, at 2:00 p.m., the mascletas (rhythmic composition of pyrotechnic explosions in which the visual effects are not essential as in nighttime fireworks), probably the most appreciated social event and fallas show by Valencians.

Since then, kennels have begun to fill with dogs and cats, although fewer, because as they are animals that do not need to leave their domestic domains, noise from the street does not harm them as much. Both have great hearing ability. Up to four times higher than that of the human being (with a hearing range of 10,000 to 20,000 hertz) in the case of dogs (from 10,000 to 50,000 hz) and even more in that of cats (young people can reach 100,000 hz ). Therefore, noise affects them more, regardless of their race and size, than humans.

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Marina Miralles, a Valencian veterinarian and ethologist specializing in dog and cat behavior, explains that there are dogs “that are not afraid of firecrackers; others experience moderate fear and then there are those who suffer from an intense phobia and can have a very bad time: they stop eating and urinating and even suffer tachycardia, diarrhea or vomiting, and in very serious cases, they can try to jump down the window if they are alone”. “The advantage of floor cats, which can also have a hard time, is that they don’t need to go out to relieve themselves and they have a more marked strategy of hiding at home than dogs,” she says.

The firecrackers, the noise, especially affect dogs. Some animals suffer from anxiety, nervousness, vomiting, loss of appetite, change of habits.Monica Torres

The ideal is to take the dogs out of the city. Go out for a few days (as many neighbors who are not fallas do, with or without a dog) from the festive area or take the animals to a residence or leave them in the care of someone who lives away from noise. If this is not possible, as is often the case, it is recommended to combine palliative treatments with pharmacology and natural products, says Miralles. It is also advisable to encourage hiding places inside the house, where the animals feel safer and more isolated. “For example, under a table, with a thick blanket on top that insulates from noise… In addition, you have to close the windows, put on the TV or the radio, habitual sounds that also isolate from the outside, avoid leaving the person alone animal” and give him peace of mind and caresses if he is afraid, he points out.

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Eva cannot leave this year in Fallas, but she is already thinking of doing so next year to avoid these days for chuck. She and her family take the dog down to the street, often in their arms, at the time with less festive fuss. It is not easy, if he lives in the center. In addition to the mascletas and the castles (fireworks) organized by the Town Hall. Each Fallas festival has its own program and many Valencians, without having to be Fallas, are fond of throwing firecrackers (the power of which is limited) down the street. Buy bomblets (of very low power) to children is like a rite of passage.

Rocío and Mireia do not hesitate to leave the city to go to the countryside for a few days with their dog Lola, which withstands firecrackers well, but with each explosion the pace of his steps increased a little last Sunday. “This is unbearable and not just for dogs. the falleros they take the city”, protests Mireia, while walking down a street taken by one of the many tents set up in the city. Silvia and Pedro are falleros and have just adopted a dog thousand milk that, for the moment, has not shown any fear of the firecrackers. “We take her down to the street or to the river (to the Turia garden) for a while and then she stays at home, where there is hardly any noise,” she explains.

This year, the City Council has recommended that firecrackers not be set off at siesta time (from 3 to 5 p.m.) to rest and so that pets can go for a walk. It is a suggestion, not a regulatory restriction, such as the one that theoretically governs at night that prohibits the use of fireworks (from 2 to 7.30) on the main days of the party (from 15 to 19).

A young woman carries her dog in her arms during the fallas.
A young woman carries her dog in her arms during the fallas. Monica Torres

Laura Evans’ clientele is usually “very farsighted” and reserves a place for these dates “well in advance”. She is a “positive” dog educator and welcomes just over a dozen dogs in a country house, at Canimals, in the town of Vilamarxant. She comments that no dog can enjoy a shrill noise like that of firecrackers, although she sometimes does not express it graphically. “They can manage it better or worse, but how is it not going to affect them?” There are therapies that help and a few drops of CBD, a medical marijuana extract without the psychoactive ingredient, facilitate relaxation, she points out. Regarding cats, “very emotionally sensitive”, she recalls that it is very difficult for them to manage changes in their environment, although they do not need to go down the street, which benefits them these days.

The El Puerto canine and feline residence in the town of Puçol is also full, with fifty animals. “At these dates it is always full. It is normal, we are in Valencia. Animals have a hard time assimilating this madness we do with firecrackers. We have very loyal customers. Now we are in high season, like in the summer holidays”, says Moisés Albarracín, head of the center.

Niu, at the moment, does not seem to be bothered too much by firecrackers.  In the image, in front of the Na Jordana fault, during its assembly.
Niu, at the moment, does not seem to be bothered too much by firecrackers. In the image, in front of the Na Jordana fault, during its assembly.
Monica Torres

Pets are also the subject of a thriving business. The offer of caregivers in their own home and walkers, also in faults, that is advertised on the Internet is enormous. The prices are very wide, they vary depending on the services from 10-12 euros per night.

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