NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As we head into one of the biggest weekends of the year for firework displays, a disabled veteran has a message after her dog was injured by a firework that crossed into her yard.
Brittany Sorrentini relies on her dog Cameo to live independently. Cameo is her trained service dog but ever since she was burned by a firework this week, she’s been fearful and unable to do her job.
“A loud noise, a cat, a squirrel, a child running up to her, everything is a training opportunity. Cameo alerts me to my narcolepsy. I originally trained her for my anxiety and PTSD,” Sorrentini explained.
Cameo was outside in the backyard when ash from a stray firework singed the fur on her lower back and burned a part of her nose.
“I heard her scream and she ran inside. Every loud noise she hears she’s associating with pain so now a disabled veteran is without her service dog,” Sorrentini recalled.
Sorrentini told 10 On Your Side she immediately called Norfolk police who were unable to do anything because her neighbors did not mean to harm Cameo.
“For now I’m giving Cameo a month off to just be a dog. After that month’s over, I’ll start working with her and start desensitizing her to loud noises and hopefully she can start working again,” Sorrentini said.
She hopes she can desensitize her dog who she calls her lifeline and work through her fear.
“If anything for the next two or three years I’m without a service dog if I can’t find a replacement. That’s the worst-case scenario. Without her, my independence is slim to none. It keeps me safe out in public,” Sorrentini stated.
Her message to you as you prepare to celebrate this 4th of July holiday weekend is to be mindful and respectful.
“If you’re going to light off illegal fireworks, don’t do it in a residential area,” Sorrentini concluded.
Sorrentini tells 10 On Your Side that before Cameo was burned, she never had a problem with fireworks and even went to a fireworks display in Disney World with no fear.