As we speak, Hurricane Florence is battering the East Coast. More than 10 million homes are in the path of damaging winds and rains, it’s terrifying. Of course, during these times, my thoughts flicker to animals that are dependent on their owners’ actions. I’ll be talking about how shelters across the country work together to save homeless pets, but today I’m focusing on how you can be prepared with your pet when disasters happen.
In the case of hurricanes, there is generally a good amount of warning before they make landfall. However here in Chicago, we mostly get tornadoes, which happen quickly and with little notice. Whatever the emergency is, you can help make sure you do the best for your pets by following a few tips.
Nobody wants their pet to get lost, but this is one of the most important things you can do to quickly reunite with your pet. Make sure they have a collar with a tag with your contact information. It’s one of the most simple steps that can ease a lot of heartbreak. I’m guilty of my cats not wearing collars in our home. Since they’re completely indoor cats, I don’t make them wear a collar at all time. I have collars and IDs for them but I have yet to have them wear them. I’m going to make sure they are in a spot I have quick and easy access to in case of emergency.
A microchip is a tiny little grain of rice-looking object that goes under the animal’s skin between its shoulder blades. It’s the holy grail of identification and all my pets have it. In fact, almost every animal that comes from a rescue or shelter is microchipped. However, you must make sure your chip information is up-to-date. I can’t tell you how many animals are found as strays with a microchip only to have the microchip information outdated. Make sure your pets’ microchip information is your current address and phone number. You can update it by calling your vet or the rescue you got your pet from. Psst: Michelson Found Animals Foundation has a totally free microchip registry for you to use as well.
Have a plan
Know what you are going to do if emergencies happen. If you’re area faces hurricanes or wildfires, know where you’ll go if they occur. There’s a lot of websites you can use to find pet-friendly hotels like BringFido and GoPetFriendly, find one along your evacuation route. Or, arrange with family and friends who won’t be affected by the storms. If you’re like me and fear tornados, know what room you’d lock yourself in during the storm. An interior room without windows is key. Make sure to have some bedding/supplies on hand while you wait out the storm.
Make a kit
Have an emergency kit ready to go with supplies for your pets. Include enough food/water to last a week as well as extra leashes, a blanket, and crate. Also pack essential first-aid supplies as well. Put the kit either close to the door or the interior room you’d use during a tornado. This way, when the disaster strikes, you’ll have one less thing to worry about or forget.
Put one of these stickers in your front door window to alert first responders to pets in your house. This will be an easy way for them to know what is in your house. Of course, it’s key that these stickers are also updated to reflect the pets in your home. While it doesn’t guarantee they’ll search your home for pets, it does alert them to be aware of animals and help with their safety as well.
Nobody ever wants to imagine these types of situations, but being prepared could make things much easier if faced with an emergency.
My heart goes out to everybody on the East Coast. If you’d like to help support rescue efforts, consider donating to Charleston Humane Society. They’re trying to save 700 animals from the harm of Hurricane Florence. If you want to do something more hands-on, become a foster for Anti-Cruelty Society who is taking in about 80 animals from the East Coast. Sign up to be a foster here.
Special thanks to Michelson Found Animals Foundation for sharing these tips. Be sure to check out all they are doing to help homeless pets!
Benson – This boy, those eyes. If you enjoy giving treats, he’ll enjoy eating them forever. This pup knows all the basic commands and is ready to learn so many more with a bit of practice. He’s a Safe Humane Court Case Dog because he was confiscated from his old owner. He was brought in with a wound around his neck that has since healed. Benson is currently available for rescue only, meaning, you can foster/adopt him through any approved Homeward Bound Partner. You can get more info by emailing email@example.com.
Crusier – He is the biggest wiggle butt and is ready to give you so many kisses! If you’re looking for a dog to be a goofball with, he is your guy. He’s absolutely beautiful and he loves people and belly rubs. He’s also a Court Case Dog available for rescue only. For more information on Crusier, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWEATER WEATHER?! I’m here for it. I’m so ready to celebrate fall and dress accordingly… I bought this sweater from Anthropologie and it’s comfy as heck. I paired it with my Levi’s 501s and some boots that I just bought from Nordstrom. Shop the look below!
All photos: Josh Feeney Photography