Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most celebrated Indian holidays.
We decorate our homes with lights, prepare huge feasts for family and friends – and burst firecrackers.
But firecrackers are extremely alarming to dogs.
Dogs have an acute sense of hearing, a trait we revere in our guard dogs and hunting dogs, who can hear (and smell) even the smallest field mouse rustling in a meadow. My (not so pure-bred) dogs, Ruby and Jack, seem to go crazy over nothing sometimes but they have only sensed someone approaching the gate well before I can hear anything. But firecrackers create a loud and sudden strike causing an elevated level of alarm and invoking a fight or flight response that makes dogs react in a variety of ways. When firecrackers ignite some dogs like Ruby will cower in fear, tails between their legs while others like my Jack quickly run away looking for a quiet place to hide. Some dogs may even become aggressive if approached in this state of alarm. To deter you from causing terror to your dog or the street dogs in your community, we came up with 6 Ways to Spread Light this Diwali. These inspiring actions can create light in your life as well as the lives of others.
1. Spread light by donating to a cause close to your heart – Diwali is a festival of giving. Giving love and spreading joy. Give love by donating old clothes to the needy. Spread joy by feeding the street dogs in your community.
2. Light up the sky with lanterns – Sky lanterns are small hot air balloons with a candle that allows it to loft into the air. Sky lanterns are easy to make or buy and create the most beautiful display of light in the night sky.
3. Spend time with your family – Designate a family night and experience the joy of playing games with your children, watching a movie together or go see Priyanka Chopra’s newest film The Sky is Pink – hopefully no firecracker are bursting in this film.
4. Have a dinner party – Diwali is a time to celebrate. Invite friends over for a dinner party. Try out some new recipes like Paneer Makhani or Gobi Pakora, play charades or taash, and don’t forget the sweets!
5. Decorate your home with rangoli – Rangoli is a tradition on Diwali. Include the whole family by making it simple or create an awe-inspiring design on your own. Do you have a design in your family? If not, here are some inspirations.
6. Light up your home with candles – Candles are a simple, elegant way to light up your Diwali. Get scented candles or find a traditional diya to impress the guests of your dinner party (#4) or enjoy the radiant glow with your family (#5) or special one.
While firecrackers are dangerous and contribute to air pollution (temporarily) they are most concernedly harmful to dogs: your dog, your neighbor’s dog and the stray dogs that share your streets. If you must enjoy firecrackers, think twice before shooting off your own and join in the municipal festivities where they are in an open space (where less dogs linger) and ignited safely and securely.
Wishing you a Diwali that brings happiness, prosperity and joy to you and your family. Happy Diwali!
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
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About the author
DAR Development Director