Fireworks lead to Halloween tragedy

Cobble Hill – As difficult as it is to write this letter, I am hoping that the results of this story can be avoided in future years with other pet owners.

Halloween night I put my two puppies out in their dog run after the trick or treaters had finished for the evening. Some time later some of my neighbours in the subdivision next to us in Cobble Hill started to set off fireworks. I didn’t hear anything from my dogs and didn’t realize anything was of concern.

A little time later my wife noticed one of the puppies at the back door which was very surprising in that he would have had to have gotten out of the dog run to appear there. We let Riley in and called out for Reid, his brother. No sign of him. We both started out to look for him realizing the loud fireworks had spooked the two puppies to climb a chicken wire fence and push through a six foot tall deer fence to escape the startling explosions.

More than two hours of searching did not reveal Reid. I continued the next morning while my wife contacted the vet offices around us and I left a message with the SPCA shelter. Some time later a call from one of the vet clinics advised us that a photo of a dog hit and killed on the highway, more than a mile from us, had been circulated to the clinics. With huge anxiety we waited for the photo to load on our computer, all the time trying to not let on to the kids what our concern was. The image that appeared completely horrified us as there was not doubt that our beautiful and loving family member was now dead.

A man travelling north to his home in Cedar had hit Reid as he tried to cross the highway to continue his escape from the fireworks. We had to pull ourselves together and make the plans to meet the man in Ladysmith as he had kindly stopped to see if he could help the puppy and then transported him to his home where he took the photo and waited to hear from his owners.

I have my doubts that Halloween will ever be a fun and carefree event for any of us in the future. We lost an amazing dog that was deeply bonded into our hearts and us into him. Anyone who met Reid loved him immediately. Being almost a year old he was just getting past the puppy high jinks and was entering his prime years.

I lost my best friend that night and the grief we are all experiencing is overwhelming. His brother is left without his best friend as well and now has no one to romp and play tug of war with, with their rope toys. Walks along the usual routes are gut wrenching and the bounding greeting at the door is gone. We await the urn of his ashes so that we can keep him close to us forever.

This has all been so senseless and unnecessary as we live close to Valley View shopping centre that puts on a great fireworks display each year, along with a huge bonfire, while providing treats, hot chocolate and coffee to the participants.

Why do some people continue to feel it is their right to blatantly ignore the ban of these activities?

Our family has been devastated and a beautiful life needlessly lost. I can only hope that this story will help prevent any more losses.

Daniel Deener

Cobble Hill

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