For pet owners up and down the country, Bonfire Night comes hand in hand with barking, as agitated canines respond to fireworks by exercising their vocal chords. But this year, Four Weddings and a Funeral actor Simon Callow has teamed up with More Than Pet Insurance to provide a solution... a bedtime story recorded especially for dogs. Yes, you heard right.
Teddy and Stanley's Tall Tale has been narrated by Callow using a variety of animal psychology techniques and communicative soundbites that supposedly hold a dog's attention and help it to relax. No doubt Callow's dulcet tones will go some way to soothing any pooch's panic but what can a mere four and a half minute audiobook do that a calming word from an owner can't, I hear you ask?
Well, according to Karen Wild - dog behaviourist extraordinaire who has advised closely on the recording - precise words and speech patterns have been used to create a relaxing aura. Callow's tale is packed full of canine-friendly cadences, lengths of sounds, volumes, intensities, frequencies and pitch to deliver one chilled-out pup.
"To ensure the story would work, it was created using scientific evidence based on research of the canine mind and their sense of hearing," said Wild. "In my job I know that a settled, happy dog is a joy to own and the bedtime story can help bring a peaceful Bonfire Night for the whole family."
Simon Callow added: "Having two dogs myself I know just how terrifying the sound of fireworks can be to animals. I hope that lending my voice to the bedtime story can go some way to help petrified pups relax this Bonfire Night."
In order for the audiobook to achieve maximum effectiveness, dog owners are advised to play it to their pets several times in the days preceding Bonfire Night to familiarise them with the sounds. Then, on 5 November, repeat the process regularly during calm times before the fireworks begin.
Pet owner or not, if you fancy a reminder of Callow's melodic tones, have a listen (and a watch) of the video below: