We’ve all been watching, with sadness, the impact the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma has had. We’ve watched painful images of the losses people in that area have suffered because of this monster storm. There have also been many stories about what happened when pets were caught up in the mayhem. Some ended well but many ended with the complete loss or death of beloved pets.
Although we live in a relatively calm part of the country that doesn’t see as many terrible storms as experienced in some regions, the climate has definitely changed over the last decade which has brought with it more intense storms and weather extremes. We think it’s time to remind our adopters and those who read our blog to make the effort to put in place a disaster plan for keeping your pets safe. Here are a few suggestions:
Make sure you have identification on your hound. Many people do not want to keep collars on their hounds in the house. However, if an emergency happens and your hound gets loose, it will be much harder to reunite you with your dog. Consider micro chipping or have your hound wear a tag collar with your information on it.
If you live in an area where weather warnings are in progress and you have time, find another safe place for your dog to live until the danger is over. This is not always possible, but think ahead about where you might be able to go if the need arises. Remember, most shelters do not permit pets; make sure you have a plan in place if the unthinkable happens. Make a list of pet-friendly motels, kennels, etc. where you can take your hounds and store it in an accessible location.
Put together an emergency evacuation kit for your hound and keep it in a safe location. This kit should include a several day’s supply of your dog’s food and treats. It should also include items like medications (two weeks’ supply), extra collar and leashes, copies of medical records, bottled water and bowl, crate (if necessary) and instructions for taking care of your dog if you have to leave him/her with a care taker. You might also want to put together a small first aid kit. By all means keep a copy of your dog’s rabies certificate in a place where it can be accessed. If your hound gets loose and animal control picks him/her up, you will have to present proof of rabies vaccination to have the dog released to you. All of these items should be kept where you can access them in a hurry.
If you are forced to leave your hounds at home if you have to evacuate, order an ASPCA window decal alerting rescue workers that you have pets inside your home.
While we are on the subject of making a plan, have you ever thought of what would happen to your hound(s) if something happened to you and your hounds survive you? Have you thought of the future and all of the possibilities of what can happen?
Consider this true story…… a woman in Memphis, Tennessee was murdered by someone she knew. He was someone who had done work around her house so he knew the lay out of her home and knew that, even though she had nine greyhounds, he was not in any danger of being attacked. He knew that she lived alone with her dogs. He was caught when a camera captured his image while he was using the woman’s ATM card.
Five days later, the police found her body in her home. For five days her dogs were without food or water. The adoption group that she worked with took all of the dogs (which she had adopted) and they were subsequently adopted into other homes. Fortunately, she was an active member of her greyhound adoption group because if she hadn’t been, all of the dogs would have been removed by authorities and perhaps would never have had a chance to live out the remainder of their lives.
The lesson here is that we should have a plan in place for someone to take care of our dogs if something happens to us. Our dogs depend upon us to take care of them. They cannot take care of themselves. If you go on a trip and leave them at a kennel, please think about what would happen if you didn’t come back home. Also, consider what you would do if you ended up hospitalized from an accident or illness and could not get back home. Who would know that you had a dog at home waiting for you? Who would take care of your animals while you are sick, incapacitated, etc.
Please take the time to sit down and work out an emergency plan that will work for you. One suggestion is to place a card in your wallet next to your driver’s license stating that you have animals at home and to please call the number of a person you designate (and who can be called) to get them. Work it out with family members, friends, co-workers to take care of your dogs if something happens to you. Keep this information current.
Also, if you don’t survive, do you have someone designated who will take your pet? You should have your designated caregiver call our group to inform us that they are to pick up the dog in the event that we get a call that your pet is alone and we take it back. Our group would probably be the logical contact if you don’t have another person designated and we would take it and start looking for a home for it. We need to know if you have other people who will look out for you so that we don’t place a dog that already has a home to go to. If you prepare a will to include money to care for your dog, don’t leave the money to the dog. It will be much more difficult to get the legalities sorted out. Leave money to your designated caregiver to use to take care of your dog. You can be specific about how the funds are to be spent.
Also, remember that many adoption groups go out of business. What would happen if the organization you adopted your greyhound from went out of business? Our group has taken in many greyhounds from people needing help and the group they adopted the dog from is no longer operating. Please take the time to think through all the possibilities.
Life may be going great but we all know that anything can happen at any time. Please care enough about your dog(s) to make plans in the event of an unforeseen emergency.
None of us expect that something bad can or will happen to us and this subject is taboo in many homes. But if you take the time to put together a plan, you will feel better knowing that your beloved pet(s) will be safe if you can’t be there for them.