The sky growls whenever the Blue Angels swoop low. And many dogs whimper.
“My last dog was shaking in her boots and she wouldn’t go out when they were flying,” said Judy Choy, 47, a shelter service supervisor at Animal Care and Control on 15th Street and Harrison. “I actually had to sedate her.”
The planes don’t bother all dogs, but Choy advises taking precautions, because the loud engine noises can cause some otherwise calm dogs to bolt.
“If they are skittish during Fleet Week, don’t let your dog run free at a park.”
Although most of the Fleet Week action is at the Marina, early Saturday afternoon two planes flew side by side over Dolores Park, leaving a wake of red and blue streaks above Mission High School.
Dozens of dogs ran free in Dolores Park all afternoon, seemingly oblivious to the booming acrobatics overhead.
Many owners said planes are the least of their dogs’ worries.
A 23-year-old man who called himself Speedbump said his two-year-old pit bull is afraid of fireworks.
“He’s scared of rats!” chimed in a friend who was draped in a blanket on the lawn. “See?” He procured a rat from a grimy cage on the grass and held it to the dog’s face. The dog balked and jogged away from the rodent.
Candace Turner’s dog, Lakota, turned to the sky only in search of her flying tennis ball. “She paid attention to a blimp once,” Turner said.
As the Blue Angels’ “Fat Albert” tore through the sky above, a man was being dragged along Valencia Street by his German Shepard puppy. It’s not the planes that bother the dog, he said: “It’s skateboarders that she hates!”
At Amore Animal Supply, owner Efrain Rodriguez, 36, said there’s been no run on things like treats, diffusers and sprays meant to pacify dogs. “The Fourth of July is the only time I sell stuff to calm animals.”
But Gina Poon, 24, a client care associate at the San Francisco SPCA, said her organization counsels more owners than usual during Fleet Week, though not as many as on Independence Day.
Poon reminds owners to keep their dogs indoors during the air show if they don’t handle loud noises well, so they can’t run away.
A Blue Angel roared past, and Poon’s own dog looked skyward, then paused to look over its shoulder at its walker. A split second passed, the plane disappeared and the two continued down the sidewalk as if it hadn’t been there.
Fleet Week ends Sunday with an air show from 1 to 4 p.m., with the Blue Angels as the finale.