Creating a firework bunker for the dog

A dog curled up on a pink rug.

Ah, festive seasons in Malaysia. Any excuse to shoot fireworks into the sky because other people are richer than me.

But what really pisses me off is that it terrorises my dog, causing her to refuse walks and toilet time, which is not ideal because she refuses to go on our property. She would only do it when we’re out for a walk.

If Girlie Dog was caught outside when the fireworks go off, she would squeeze under my car or into the tiny legroom of the table in the corner of the porch. But being inside didn’t seem to be any better. She still paced, looking for somewhere quieter, and usually settling under my legs under my computer desk.

In the foreground is a dog looking slightly towards the right of the photo. In the background (right), a biscuit sits on top of a car tire. On the left is an old-fashioned computer piled with boxes.

And let’s be honest, the best place for a dog to hide from fireworks and get some of that sound-muffling quality is under my bed. The problem was that I have boxes and tubs under the bed, and I’ve been putting off figuring out what to do with them.

Things really got rolling when I saw a rug listed for a giveaway on the local “Buy Nothing” group. It turned out to be someone living just one lorong away from me. I went by the same evening to collect it.

The rug was lightweight and fairly large. It was a shade somewhere between salmon and pink, made up of soft fluff that was easily pulled away at the edges. It would probably disintegrate if I washed it. Instead, I beat out the dust, vacuumed it thoroughly and left it in the sun to freshen it up before slipping it under my bed. I had to move a lot of boxes around to make room, but it was done.

It wasn’t that hard to teach the dog that it was her new space. She is a polite dog and I never had to deal with her getting into places where she shouldn’t be (unless there’s food involved). I lured her with some popcorn, throwing them deeper and deeper under the bed. She willingly belly-crawled inside, which was easy and comfortable since the bed had double the height clearance of my car.

On the days leading up to CNY eve, Girlie snoozed on my bedroom floor after dinner and eventually learned how to retreat under my bed when the fireworks outside got too loud. I am very pleased with how well this worked.

A dog is asleep on a pink rug under a bed. Her paws are crossed on top of each others and nearer to the camera so they look enormous.

I even added an LED light bar so that I can check on her from time to time. It was pretty dark under there. If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see that I also set up privacy curtains for maximum noise-dampening.

I ran a non-scientific sound test with my phone camera, recording the noise level at the height of the fireworks and then plunging the phone deep under the bed where the dog was hiding. The noise was muffled by more than half its volume. I wanted to crawl under there with the dog.

Girlie Dog spent most of the CNY nights there. It was nice to have her in the room, and nice that she has her own space tucked away from my already limited floor space. I suppose the only part that wasn’t nice was when she woke me by noisily licking her privates in the dead of night.

Firework season is over and I’ve packed the rug away. The dog has returned to her hammock bed on the porch, where she can closely monitor neighbourhood activity. The space under my bed remains empty while I look for the energy to de-own stuff that used to be there.

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  1. Georgette Tan

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