A blog from Snow – Lately there have been so many frightening evacuations from dangerous, destructive natural disasters. Paul and Sarah told me about the horrible experiences during Katrina eight years ago. There was so much suffering by heartbroken owners and lost and abandoned pets. Hopefully since then we’ve all learned to take precautions to keep our pets safe, but it’s easy to think it won’t happen where you are.
We don’t have hurricanes or floods here, for example, like the ones we’ve been seeing nearly every night on the news. But we do have forest fires. Most areas are at risk from some kind of unsuspected disaster that could lead to an evacuation. Paul and Sarah promised me if we had to evacuate they would never, ever leave me behind. But there are worries.
So many circumstances can arise that would worry any pet if he or she really knew what could happen. For example, a family might think they will only be gone a few hours but it could turn out to be days or weeks. Or maybe family members are at work for the day or have gone out on errands across town, leaving left us a home like they usually do, not suspecting a disaster might strike. Or in the rush of leaving during a crisis, they may not take along the things we need.
So you can do the worrying for us so and be prepared. Here are some things to do in advance, just in case.
- Have an evacuation kit handy. The Red Cross has one. They also have safety training classes. . The ASPCA has a kit too. Or you can put one together yourself with supplies like first aid items, any medication we take with the dosages, several days of food, a week’s supply of water, clean up materials, our leash and collar, of course, and copies of our medical records, a crate or carrier, our favorite blanket, sweater, bed and some toys.
- Be sure we have our identity tags on with needed license and contact information, as well as proof of rabies vaccination and other shots on hand. A microchip is a good idea, too, in case we get lost in the chaos of a disaster.
- Have proof of ownership available like registration, adoption papers, proof of purchase. Take color photos and put our age, sex, color and other distinguishing features on the back. Store them in our crate or the safety kit.
- Arrange for a safe place to us all to stay away from the area, i.e. friends, relatives, pet friendly inns and hotels. Be sure to check beforehand that they understand we’ll be along if they come. Some Red Cross shelters don’t take pets, so check that out beforehand. If we can’t be with you, have the names and addresses of kennels or boarding facilities away from your area.
- If you leave us at home while you are at work or out and about make arrangements with neighbors or nearby friends who know us who will come get us. Never leave such arrangements until the last minute. Make sure they have a key for example. But every minute counts in an evacuation and there may not be time for someone else to make an extra stop to come get you, so put a rescue stick on the front and back doors of our home that lets official first responders know there are pets inside. You can get a one for free from www.aspca.org.
I hope there will never be any disasters near you, but we just never know when one may strike. So, please, please, don’t forget us. Be prepared.
If you would like more information or assistance in dealing with pet issues, Sarah welcomes your questions.