Michigan Animal Rescue League Introduces Unique Program to Comfort Shelter Pets During Fireworks

The “Comfort Crew” will offer calming activities and treats to the cats and dogs at the rescue this Fourth of July weekend.
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Photograph courtesy of MARL

Fireworks are a tradition at most Fourth of July celebrations, but the loud booms from these displays can cause anxiety for area pets and animals. One local rescue, Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL), is keeping the cats and dogs in its care calm this year with a new and unique program called “Comfort Crew.”

Each night when Fourth of July fireworks are expected, staff and volunteers at the Pontiac-based rescue will stay at the shelter until midnight to offer the adoptable pets soft music, board games, and other activities and treats aimed at keeping them distracted during the displays.

The goal of this hands-on approach is to “ease the stress and anxiety caused by loud noises, ensuring our furry friends feel safe, secure, and loved,” according to a press release.

“As ‘A Different Breed of Shelter,’ we want to ensure the comfort of our dogs and cats at all times,” Magee Humes, executive director at MARL, said in that press release. “Recognizing that fireworks can cause stress in animals, our team of staff and volunteers jumped at the chance to stay late to provide comfort and security to the over 200 animals currently in our care.”

After one night, staff at MARL are confident that the Comfort Crew will become an annual tradition for the rescue, and while it is too late to help this Fourth of July, Humes told Hour Detroit that the rescue is always looking for volunteers willing to be trained by the rescue to help care for the cats and dogs all year round.

Those trained to work with cats will learn about enrichment activities for them and how to watch their behavior as well as how to clean and handle them, according to Humes. Meanwhile, volunteers who work with dogs learn how to put a harness on and walk them, what to do if you encounter another dog on a walk, and their behaviors.

Volunteers at the rescue must be at least 18 years of age.

For more information about the Comfort Crew and other volunteer opportunities at MARL, visit marl.org.