Plan for Disaster

May 1, 2021

Lucky dog - rescued!
Credit The National Guard [Flickr]

This dog is one of the lucky ones - he survived the tornado, and is rescued!  If his owner had a disaster plan, he might not have needed to endure this.  Make a list of items your pet will need to get by for several days, and make your own "bug-out" bag!  The best advice is to not wait until the last minute to evacuate.  The American Red Cross website has some great information to get you started.  

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This week was the ten year anniversary of that monster tornado that cut a path of devastation across Alabama. Every night for weeks afterward, four-legged victims of the storms crawled out from their hiding places in search of food.

During the day these pets would hide in fear from the noise of heavy machinery clearing away debris. Their entire world had changed and nothing looked familiar to them. Rescuers worked to catch dogs and cats and bring them to safety, to a place where they might have a chance of being reunited with their owners, but in the meantime those poor lost pets were afraid and hungry.

Could that happen to your pet? No matter where you live, the possibility exists of a disaster occurring that could impact the well-being of you and your best friend, whether it’s a tornado, or a flood, or a fire – or a hurricane. The surest way to protect your pet from disaster is to plan for it.

You can put together what a friend of mine calls a “bug-out bag”. In his case, it’s an oversized knapsack with items that he’ll need for his pet, like medicines and a pet first aid kit, canned food with pull-ring tops that don’t need a can opener, bottled water, and plastic bowls for the food and water. He has a photo of his pet, a couple of towels that can be used as bedding if necessary and an extra leash and collar with an ID tag. He keeps his bug-out bag for his pet next to the one he has for himself, on top of a pet carrier. When he hears a storm is coming, he and his pet can “bug-out” – all he has to do is put his pet in the carrier, grab the bug-out bags and he’s ready to go.

And the best part of his plan? He has three different places he knows he can go with his furry friend, so he won’t be looking for a place at the last minute that will accept both him and his pet.

The thought of a lost pet living in fear in a bleak and hostile environment in the aftermath of a disaster may break your heart, but let it remind you to make a plan now, to keep your own best friend safe should disaster strike, when you’re speaking of pets.

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