This might be the ultimate happy ending story for a dog scared to death and it serves as a lesson for all us dog owners.

In Union Beach on Sunday, a pet dog jumped into the Raritan Bay and swam a mile and a half and needed to be rescued.

Caiden is a 10-year-old Siberian Husky who “was in distress after separating from his owner,” according to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Officers Kasey Collins and Michael Forgione deployed in a boat and pulled the scared animal from the water.

There had been a wide-spread rumor that the rescue actually happened a bit later that day, during the community's Fourth of July fireworks display — which the Sheriff's Office said was incorrect.

But it's a reminder that you never know how a dog might react to fireworks. I’ve had dogs that were fine one year then traumatized the next. But there are some simple things you can do to keep them calm and safe during these celebrations.

Ways to keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks

Leave them home

Janie Airey

The most obvious thing? Just don’t bring them. You’d be amazed how many people bring their dogs to the sensory overload of a public fireworks display only to be shocked when the dog has an anxious breakdown or outright runs away.

Tracking devices

Chow -chow dog at grooming salon.
Group4 Studio

In case your dog DOES run off, keep them safe ahead of time by making sure they’re microchipped and have a gps device.

Give them a ‘cave’


Creating a safe pace in your home goes a long way. Think in terms of replicating a cave by using an interior windowless closet or their own dog crate tucked away somewhere dark and cozy.

My dog Finn was crate trained and he loves his crate to this day, using it like his own personal bedroom.



Walk them, walk them, walk them. A long, hard walk before fireworks begin later that night can exercise your dog and wear them out in a healthy way so they’re naturally calmer when the booms come.

Desensitize them

Retro radio on wood table with blue wallpaper background
Tanatat Ariyapinyo

Desensitization can go a long way. Start by playing at low volume the sounds of fireworks. Loud enough for them to hear it but quiet enough that they’re not overwhelmed.

As they tolerate the noise give them treats so they mentally associate something good with the unpleasant sound.

White noise


White noise can go a long way. A white noise machine can drown out the explosions just enough to take the edge off. If you don’t have a white noise machine then any constant sound like leaving a television on.

Ask a vet

Vet examining a Australian shepherd in front of white background

Talk to your vet about a medication. Sure it may sound silly, but they have stuff now that dogs can benefit from. If you’re hesitant they even make over the counter dog calming treats now.

Another therapeutic idea is a pressure vest for anxiety. It might be the only day of the year they’d like one but the hugging pressure on their bodies calms a dog like a hug from you.

Editor's note: A previous version of this said that the dog rescued in Union Beach had been scared by fireworks — the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office has said that is incorrect.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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