This week I decided to forego a humorous post and instead ask you a question on a more serious subject: Should a natural disaster occur in your hometown, when it comes to your beloved pet (of any species) “are you prepared?”…
As Hurricane / Tropical Storm Isaac reeked havoc across the state of New Orleans Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and days of unending heavy rain, I worried about a family I’ve known all my life. They relocated there almost two decades ago, and although we do not see one another often, we manage to keep in touch. “Kathy” is an avid Groovy Golden Doodle reader, and keeps up with the antics of the boys regularly. She has her own little “tribe” of miniature dachshunds that are absolutely too cute for words. Meet “Jasper”, doing what he does best, lounging on his float in the pool…
When I reached out to Kathy to find out how they were making out, she told me she, and the rest of the family were safe and had been evacuated to a small town in Louisiana near the Texas border. I then asked about the babies, and she told me “Bosco, Ivory and Jasper” were doing fine…
“Finding a hotel that would allow dogs to stay there even in a situation as grave as this was extremely difficult” she said. I couldn’t help but think if three “itty bitty” pups were turned away, what on earth would I have done with my two?
During the evening as I sat in the creature comforts of my home, with all my belongings dry and in “pristine condition”, I couldn’t help but feel immeasurably blessed for what I’d been spared. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking, “are you ready Cathy, should you need to leave abruptly? What is your evacuation plan for the boys?” I must sadly confess, I had none.
“Every hurricane season at The Weather Channel and weather.com, we talk about hurricane preparedness. However, humans aren’t the only ones that need to be prepared for during inclement weather. Pet owners should have an emergency plan that includes the safety of their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area.
More than 358 million pets reside in 63 percent of American households. According to a Zogby International poll, 61 percent of pet owners will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.”
Here’s a handy list that made perfect sense to me:
- FOOD AND WATER BOWLS: Don’t forget food and water bowls! Travel size and plastic bowls are much easier to transport on the road.
- MEDICATIONS: Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies should also be packed. Medications and medical records should be stored in a waterproof container. A pet first aid book is also good to include.
- COMFORT ITEMS: Bring along comfort items, such as a toy and blanket. These can help to reduce your pet’s stress from travel and severe weather.
- CURRENT PHOTOS: Bring along current photos and descriptions of your pets, including any details or markings. These items can be extremely helpful to help others identify your pet. You can also use this information to prove they are your pets in case you become separated. Pet owners should remember that having your pet microchipped dramatically increases the chances of a reunion if that pet becomes lost.
- LEASH, HARNESS, AND CARRIER: For dogs, remember to bring a leash or harness and a carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area. These items will help transport your pet safely and to ensure they can’t escape. Carriers should be large enough to allow the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Cats will need enough litter for five days, and a litter box that can be easily transported. A sturdy carrier also makes travel much easier for cats.
- TAGS AND IDs: Your pet should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times in case you become separated. Make sure your pet is wearing its collar and that it includes the proper information. If it is not already on there, you should add your current cell phone number to your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area. That way, if your pet is lost, you can provide a number that will be answered even if you’re unable to be reached by phone.
For more tips on preparedness plans that include your pets, visit humanesociety.org/prepare
For right now, Kathy, Theresa, Bunni, Michelle, and James are doing as well as can be expected. They are anxiously waiting for clearance to return to their homes.
Bosco, Ivory, and Jasper are safe, thanks to the kindness of the folks at the Hampton Inn!
The boys send “Doodle Love” to Kathy, her family, and the countless others (victims, rescuers, and Samaritans) living this nightmare.
Thanks so much for reading…