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We at Jimmydog, including our dear Freddie girl, have been heartbroken and horrified by images of recent natural disasters. Freddie’s been particularly worried about animals who had to be abandoned or were separated from their people. She never wants anything like that to happen to your pack, so she took some time to learn about emergency preparedness for pets. It’s not fun to think about, but a little planning can save you from the unthinkable—losing your pets in a disaster. As usual, Freddie just wants to help!
Although Stephanie and Todd, the best people ever, try to protect me from bad news and general unpleasantness, as I wander through the house to my next napping spot, I can’t help but see images on TV of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes—and most upsetting to me, scenes of pets left behind or separated from their people because of the disasters.
I can’t imagine how scary it must be as a dog—or gerbil or ferret or parrot—to be without your people as waters rise and walls crumble down. They would never show it but I think even cats would be terrified.
We don’t get many earthquakes in North Carolina—apparently those grumblings I sometimes hear are not quakes but my empty tummy before breakfast. (Honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference!) But Stephanie tells me we can get struck by hurricanes and tornadoes. Where you live might be prone to blizzards and ice storms. And everyone is at risk of a fire in their house and a gas leak in their neighborhood. (Oh, this stuff is upsetting to think about!)
What I’m saying is everyone needs a plan in case something happens and you are forced leave your house in a hurry.
Stephanie tells me President John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” She also tells me he loved animals and had a Welsh terrier named Charlie, so he must have been a very smart person.
Anyway, the idea is that you should prepare for bad stuff when no bad stuff is happening. So, here’s what I recommend: On the next sunny day, spend a little time making a plan and gathering emergency supplies. Chances are you’ll never have to use any of it—your life will be filled with sunny days. But if you need it, you’ll be able to keep your whole pack together and safe, just as you are meant to be.
Emergency planning for your best-friend pets:
(Thanks to Best Friends for many of these tips. It’s a wonderful animal sanctuary in Utah that has teams trained to go into disaster areas to help with pet rescue, so they know what they’re talking about.)
* Put your name, address and phone number on all your pets’ collars. Because cell service can go out or be spotty after a disaster, it’s a good idea to add a landline number or the cellphone number of a friend or relative in another part of the country.
* Get your pets microchipped. (I’m sorry in advance to all my furry friends who may have to make an extra trip to the vet for this. It’s for your own good, I promise.)
* Make sure you have carriers and leases/harnesses for all your pets. If you have a dog who may bite if she gets scared, get a soft muzzle for her. (Again, apologies to my furry friends: I hate muzzles but sometimes they are needed for everyone’s safety.)
* Create an evacuation plan. Figure out which directions you would head and where you might stay. Best Friends says it’s a good idea to check for pet-friendly hotels, animal hospitals and animal shelters at your planned destinations and along evacuation routes. If you have a lot of pets or unusual pets (a flock of chickens, horses, potbellied pigs, goats, snakes), see if there are animal refuges or large-animal boarders who could shelter your pets in an emergency.
* Create an emergency kit that includes:
* Pet food, snacks/treats and water (a week’s supply of all)
* Water and food bowls
* Can opener, plastic spoons and canned-food lid covers
* Medications (two-week supply)
* Pet first-aid kit
* Current photos of your pets
* Vaccination records
* Registry and contact information for the microchip company
* Cleaning supplies (paper towels, trash bags, poop bags, litter pans, litter, cleaning spray in case of accidents, disposable gloves, heavy-duty gloves)
* Blankets and towels (for bedding, for cleanup and to cover carriers if pets are scared)
* List of animal shelters, animal hospitals and pet-friendly hotels.
Best Friends says even if you have all these things in the house, you should gather them together in one tub or bag so they are ready when you need them: Sometimes you don’t get much warning. And don’t forget to update your emergency kit (restock with fresh food, update lists of pet-friendly hotels, etc.) twice a year.
Whew! That’s a lot. I’m glad taking care of stuff like this is Stephanie’s job, though I promise to accompany her on a car ride to the pet store for provisions because I’m helpful like that.
After you’ve made your plan and put together your emergency kit, you deserve a treat. May I suggest a cuddle with the cat or a walk with the dog?
Yours in dogness,
Precious Phoebe with the beautiful pink nails and cutest bunny toy. Todd’s latest portrait was painted for Tanner Montcrief Carpe Diem Antiques, our winner at the Westbend Winery event we attended in April. We have a drawing for a portrait at every show, so if you’re there too, make sure to stop by our booth and enter.
The wonderful portrait Todd did of Lucky The Dog, this portrait was done from a photo that was taken of Lucky when he was first found. One of Lucky’s rescuer’s Susan Mcclung entered Lucky in our contest and her response when she saw it the first time warmed out hearts.
“In tears, look at the pathos in that face. It’s more than a portrait. It’s a story. Thank you so much.
The back story, this is the picture sent to me Dec 6th last year right after thanksgiving at 11 pm in the evening, where he only weighed 32 pounds but up from the 21.2 lbs. and Dr Hedrick texted this and said “He is going to make it”…
Best text of my life, best texted image, and now this picture immortalizes “he is going to live” Please let everyone know … because there are obviously other pictures where he looked better later, but this was a moment that needed an artist. And live he did.”
If anyone would like to know about Lucky and all the amazing people who helped save his life, Susan was kind enough to share the full story with us. It’s not an easy read, but it’s important that people know and understand that this happens everywhere and that we are their voice! If you see an animal suffering, please speak and get help. We promise this story has the happiest of endings!
Congratulations to Kingston, the winner of our Pet Days of Summer Portrait Giveaway. We look forward to sharing Kingston’s portrait with you later this year. Thank you to everyone who entered and all who voted!
We also wanted to let you know a little more about Kingston Another Lucky Dog, the beautiful boy who won our portrait contest. We ran a similar contest a couple of years ago and through that met the most wonderful group of caring people who rescued a starving, neglected dog Lucky The Dog. Lucky is living today happy, healthy and loved. This same wonderful group also rescued Kingston. Sadly Kingston has gone to the bridge but he knew true love and happiness in is final days. From Kingston’s last will:
“The last item in my will, my last possession, is the love I leave behind. Please bestow it on the pets abandoned without hope or kindness.
Today, I am officially retired at the bridge. I have loved all my people who have been with me in recovery and through death. Mom may write a book or not, Stick will continue to grow and all of you wonderful people will continue to be kind and understand the strength of being kind. It is not a weakness. My Facebook page will remain for visitors and memories, but it is time to thank all of you for following. It has been such an honor to have you by my side, from abuse and neglect, degenerative myelopathy, struggles at the end, and leaving. I am a blessed dog. Abandoned and starving and then having such wonderful encouragement. I remember trying to find food and water and being so sick, and then at the end, I did not want to go, but my body said otherwise. I will see all of you later, of that have no doubt. Death is a burden and a blessing. It eclipses all day to day events, and then once understood, is just anticipation of meeting again. I love each and everyone of you. Until later, <3 Kingston at the Bridge”