Preparing for Disaster with Pets
Today’s post is gently recycled, but certainly timely. Please share? Preparing for disaster with pets is pertinent to Hurricane Harvey and the coming storm season.
Monday’s Mischief is not a fun post today. There’s mischief brewing in the Gulf of Mexico today that has little to do with dogs and a lot to do with everyone along the gulf coast. However, I think we need to talk about the havoc hurricanes wreak for families with pets.
Hurricane Isaac, so far, doesn’t look to have the strength of Katrina, but the gulf coast has been compromised as a result of Katrina. Exactly seven years ago. Even if everything was perfectly put back together from the last devastating storm, the residents are compromised, emotionally. Meaning their fur babies are probably just as nervous, off-kilter as the people. Preparing for disaster with pets needs to be done well in advance of a storm.
Pets and Evacuations
If you’ve never been through a hurricane evacuation – I’ve been through many – maybe you don’t know the horror of leaving your pets because the shelters won’t allow them, or the buses taking people out of town won’t allow them. As it was with us for years (I grew up south of New Orleans), we’d leave all our dogs and cats because we knew we’d be coming home for them. Forty years without hurricane damage, and three to five evacuations a year, dulls the senses. Lulls residents into complacency. Or there are six of you in the car, with things that matter – photos and clothes are difficult, costly or impossible to replace – and there’s only room for the cat carrier on someone’s lap. Not the 80 pound dog. Strapping him on the roof isn’t an option. You hope and pray the meteorologist is wrong.
It’s harsh, people. Don’t judge. Until you’ve lived it, had to make brutal decisions in the face of real destruction, you may not be prepared to make those decisions.
Preparing for a Hurricane, with Pets
So today, with Hurricane Isaac making a beeline for my hometown, the residents sick to their stomachs, packing and moving up the road, I’d like to remind the rest of us what being prepared looks like for us and our animals. This list apples to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods – you name it. Be prepared. I like the way the ASPCA puts it.
- If you have to leave your animals, or live in tornado alley, get a rescue alert sticker. Having this prominently displayed in your home’s window lets rescue workers know what critters are inside, as well as your veterinarian’s contact info. The ASPCA’s site has a link for getting that sticker.
- Know in advance, if you have to evacuate, where you’ll be leaving your pets. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or floods, prepare now. Some shelters don’t take pets, so know where you would head in a crisis, and know which kennel will take your pets if it’s necessary, or which relative is willing to house you and your fur babies. Find out in advance of the storm season which shelters take pets. BE PREPARED.
- Have a first aid kit ready and in your car. The ASPCA has a great list. Along with that, make sure you have room for your dogs and cats when you travel. Don’t leave kids behind, understand, but think ahead about how transportation will work. Practice loading everyone in, if need be.
- Most people who live in the path of hurricanes know this already, but if you’re new to the coast, you need to know different evacuation routes. Be ready for worst case scenarios. Every year, come May or June, my mama would start packing. We pretty much lived out of boxes half the year. It’s a GREAT way to keep clutter down, paring life down to memories and essentials. But it’s tough to do.
- Tags, microchips – make sure your pet is ready for an emergency. God forbid you should be separated from your dog or cat, but it happens. It never failed that we would evacuate and one or more cats would go into hiding somewhere in the neighborhood and we’d have to leave them behind. It broke this little girl’s heart. But this little girl’s life was more important to mama than the cat’s.
- Carriers – be ready to transport your pets safely. A fold up kennel for your dog also makes it easier for potential hosts to take your family in. BE PREPARED.
I’m praying for all my friends DTR (down the road). Hoping that Isaac is just a little thing, that my friends don’t lose everything again. Y’all, be prepared for that mischief brewing in the Gulf. Hug your babies tight. And don’t forget to pack plenty of JNC Treats!
Spreading the good chews …