Right now I have a very scared dog squashed in between my knees trembling and desperately trying to hide away from the incessant banging of fireworks. Never really understood why people want to watch their hard earned cash disappear in minutes but then I guess I am probably a bit of a party pooper or just too tight which comes from growing up quite poor. We never had fireworks in our family. What’s more why spend my money when I can stand on my balcony and enjoy my neighbours displays.
Anyway this large German Shepherd that has a bark that frightens postmen, Amazon delivery drivers and in fact anybody who dares to step over our driveway, is currently a nervous wreck.
Thankfully I just remembered a friend’s advice about Bob Marley. No I am not giving my dog marijuana but I do have his reggae music now blaring very loud out of my speakers. She said it helps to calm nervous dogs. Of course I was skeptical but what did I have to lose and I am a big Marley fan. It’s remarkable it works, it really does.
Izzi is now sleeping contently at my feet and I am swaying happily to Marley music. There is even a You Tube channel devoted to doggie reggae music.
Apparently it is a well known phenomena so not just a bit of advice from a mate. A 2017 study conducted by the Scottish SPCA and University of Glasgow found that while classical music had an initial calming effect on the dogs, after a while they get bored and that reggae and soft rock came out as the best genres for reducing stress, barking and heart rates. SPCA’s head of research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, thinks maybe it is because “those genres have a rhythm that is similar to the dogs’ own heart rate. When a puppy is feeling stressed it will snuggle into its mother and use her heartbeat as relaxation, so this music mimics that.”
I am impressed. So I looked into this a bit more and I came across Relax My Dog.com. Started in 2011 by Amman Ahmed and Ricardo Henriquez . Ricardo is based in El Salvador and owned a dog called Rocky. Because of the political unrest and violence in his community there was a lot of noise and Rocky became very anxious. So, Ricardo and Amman who had been working on musical projects together created a project – music for dogs. They found a formula that calmed Rocky. And so Relax My Dog was born.
I have to say Marley is having a positive calming effect on me too. The last few days have been very stressful. I have become increasingly anxious over the US elections. The thought that we may well have that obnoxious messianic moron for another 4 years is actually making me physically ill.
“Stop it Mum,” said my son. “You don’t live there you have get some perspective on this.”
But how does one do that when he is such a catastrophy for America, for world peace and for my personal sanity. And who are these people who think ‘he is the greatest President America has ever had’. What planet are they on? I am having very violent impulses right now which I am loathed to share with you. I fear the worst.
I am not a religious person but I am asking the universe to please step in here.
Meanwhile the dog is snoring loudly and I am now on my 4th Marley album and remembering a wonderful 1977 Marley Concert at the Rainbow venue in North London. Good times.
“Let’s be careful out there”