Michigan Animal Rescue League's 'comfort crew' helps dogs relax during fireworks

Posted at 9:55 PM, Jul 04, 2024

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — We all know the Fourth of July comes with fireworks and those fireworks come with loud noises.

Those noises can causes issues for animals especially dogs that have anxiety.

So with that in mind, the Michigan Animal Rescue League in Pontiac has a volunteer program aimed at comforting animals as fireworks go off tonight and the rest of the weekend.

“To know that we can be here to some help some of the dogs that are maybe a little uneasy about the fireworks,” said volunteer Kristin Wendell. “It makes you feel good to know you can give them a little extra comfort.”

Kristin Wendell has been volunteering with Michigan Animal Rescue League in Pontiac or M.A.R.L for the past three years.

She is one of the volunteers a part of the new "Comfort Crew" program.

“I’m very attracted and very passionate about volunteering here and when I’m home at night and even when it’s storming outside… I’m always thinking how these dogs are reacting here,” said Wendell.

Volunteers and some staff members will be at the shelter from 7:30 until midnight from Thursday until Sunday.

The shelter usually closes at 7:30 p.m.

“We’ll probably read to them, make sure they have blankets and they’ll probably be wondering what’s going on here because they’re very set in their routines and about 7-7:30 every night they settle down for bed,” said Wendell.

In addition to reading to the dogs and cats, the volunteers will also play with them and do whatever it takes to help them relax as the fireworks burst in the sky.

“A lot of dogs and cats that are in homes have their own family there to comfort them where as our animals don’t have that, we’re their family and we’re really committed to their comfort and care every day if the year but especially this weekend,” said Audrey Blaylock, communications manager at M.A.R.L.

She says the cats at the shelter are usually fine during the fireworks but dogs on the other hand are a different story.

“The dogs that are going to be anxious during fireworks are showing signs like excessive panting, pacing, general just discomfort, they’re not able to relax or get comfortable,” said Blaylock.

M.A.R.L takes care of more than 15 hundred dogs and cats each year…

As for Kristin Wendell, she says she loves that she can provide care to animals in need.

“This has been an awesome experience for me, I love it and look forward to it all the time and if anybody is every considering volunteering in any way shape or form, please find a rescue near you because they can always use the extra help,” said Wendell.

If you were thinking about becoming a volunteer for the program, you’ll have to wait until next year because it is currently at capacity.