By Langley Cornwell
An Emergency Preparedness Bag, also known as a Bug-Out Bag, is a type of designated container that you have filled with whatever you’ll need to be able to survive for a 48 to72 hour period; what you’ll need if you have to “bug out” in a moment’s notice. It’s important to have a kit ready for each human member of your household, but if you find yourself facing a disaster like a flood, fire or tornado and you need to make a run for it, you’ll want to have a bag ready so your dog can escape with you as well.
Even if you don’t live an area that’s known for hurricanes or earthquakes, having an Emergency Preparedness Bag is a sensible idea in case evacuation becomes necessary for any reason. Here is a list of the most critical items to include in your dog’s Bug-Out Bag.
Water: In all cases, it’s a good idea to be well stocked with water. The amount of necessary water to carry for your dog varies according to his age, size, weight, breed and health. You also have to take the weather and terrain into consideration when calculating how much water to bring. To complicate things further, you have to figure how you’re going to tote your water. If you and your dog are evacuating on foot, consider the fact that water is heavy and takes up a lot of space. On average, you should have a half gallon of water per dog, per day. Include a collapsible bowl for your dog to eat and drink from.
|Eli, National Dog Show Ambassador
By Linda Cole
This year, the National Dog Show will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The televised dog show has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition along with the Macy’s parade. What better way to spend the holiday than surrounded by family and friends as you enjoy a fun filled afternoon of marching bands and floats, good food and lots of great dogs.
I was invited to attend a phone press conference last week that included David Frei and Mary Carillo. David is the Communications Director for the Westminster Dog Show, and Mary is a retired tennis pro turned sports broadcaster. David is hosting the National Dog Show this year, and Mary is the featured reporter and commentator.
The National Dog Show is one of only six dog shows where the public is invited to go behind the scenes to meet the dogs and talk with their handlers and groomers. The show draws the top ranked dogs and this year’s entries will be close to 2,000 dogs. Dog lovers can see firsthand how show dogs are prepped for the big stage. Around 20 million dog loving viewers tuned in to watch last year’s show.
By Linda Cole
Sometimes you have to look deeper inside a pet to see the real spirit lurking below the surface, waiting for the right person to set it free. Some people think shelter animals aren’t worthy of their attention and don’t consider adopting them. However, many great shelter dogs and cats turn out to be a pet that saves the life of their owner. National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a nonprofit and non-government organization that provides firefighters, who are first responders, with rescued shelter dogs that have been trained for Search and Rescue (SAR) work. Even a scruffy shelter dog has the potential of becoming a hero who might one day save your life or someone you love.
Dogs end up in shelters for a number of reasons: their owner didn’t understand how to handle behavioral problems, picked the wrong dog for their lifestyle or grew tired of the dog, or the dog became lost or was dumped. Hollywood dog trainers have known for decades that animal shelters are a great place to find pets that are smart, loyal and eager to work. The pet just needed a person who saw their potential and was willing to make a commitment to work with the dog to develop his hidden abilities.
Organizations looking for Search and Rescue dogs have also discovered that animal shelters are full of untrained dogs that only need a steady and compassionate hand to teach them the art of locating people who become lost or buried under rubble after a natural disaster. Not every canine is up to the task of being a SAR dog, but many are and you only have to go as far as the local shelter to find them.
By Julia Williams
The wildfire season is really heating up. Wildfires wreak havoc on the land, on people’s homes and businesses, and their pets too. According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, wildfires torch 4 to 9 million acres every year, forcing all living things in their path to flee for their lives. Residents must evacuate not knowing if they will have a home to come back to when the fire danger has passed.
Although our first thought might not be about the pets of wildfire evacuees, the devastation affects not only them but the area’s animal shelters, rescue groups and pet food stores. Shelters scramble to find enough space for the influx of newly homeless pets that need a safe place to stay until the evacuees can return to their homes. The shelters also scramble to find enough food to feed these pets, since many of their owners are facing loss of property or business income and are unable to help with the cost of caring for their pets during this difficult time.
Thankfully, compassionate pet food companies like CANIDAE exist, companies who quickly answer the call for help and get huge pallets of food delivered where it’s needed most. Last week, it was needed in northern New Mexico, where the Las Conchas Fire started on June 26 near Los Alamos. This wildfire is New Mexico’s largest to date; it’s scorched nearly 150,000 acres thus far, and is still burning today. So far, more than 400 homes were threatened by the fire, and 63 homes were destroyed.
By Linda Cole
I live in Tornado Alley, and when I bought my home one of the most important considerations was a basement. I wanted a secure area where I could leave my pets when it was stormy and I was at work. Emergencies can happen at any time, day or night, but too many families don’t consider what might happen until a disaster is at their front door.
Practicing how you will handle certain kinds of emergencies can make a difference. Practice makes perfect, and when you know what to do and where to go, panic doesn’t take over your mind. Practice gives you knowledge, and knowledge gives you the power and strength to move quickly in an emergency.
Having a plan is one of the best ways to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe in an emergency. Teaching kids what to do when they’re home alone may not ease fears in an emergency, but it can help to keep them calmer so they can follow a plan instead of racing around trying to think what they should do and frantically searching for pets that may be hiding or forgetting about them altogether.
Pets have certain places in their home where they feel the most comfortable and safe. Some prefer a secluded place like under the bed or tucked away in a closet. It’s important for everyone to know your pet’s favorite places because most likely, that’s where you’ll find them if they’re hiding. Cats and dogs are pros at picking up how we are feeling and if we have anxiety and are frightened, they understand it. So it’s important to know all of the possible hiding places your pet could go if they’re scared. You can’t count on them answering you if they’re frightened. Pets can freeze up with fear just like people can do.
By Linda Cole
Anyone with a Facebook account understands the addictive nature of this social networking site. It’s a place where anyone can go to meet new people (with the proper precautions), get information and find pets that are in need of homes. The site even helps lost pets that have gone through natural disasters get reunited with frantic owners who were searching for them. Facebook is helping to change the plight of pets, one animal at a time.
Natural disasters affect not only the people who experience them directly, but those of us who only witness them via TV reports and now, social media. This year’s violent and deadly tornadoes have given new meaning to “keep your eye on the weather.” People who live in tornado prone states aren’t taking warnings and watches for granted this year. We can’t do anything about the weather, but we can help those affected by it in ways that weren’t possible five years ago.
Several days after the Joplin tornado, my Facebook news page was filled with posts from people who’d found pets in a demolished home or wandering aimlessly among the rubble. I also saw a number of posts from pet owners asking if anyone had seen their pet. It struck me then that Facebook had become a sort of “bulletin board” for lost and found. This is not what we see on TV news reports. Oh sure, we get some personal stories, but we don’t get the day-to-day activities that go on after a natural disaster. I gladly shared each post I saw hoping it might help reunite pets with their owners. It was my only way of trying to help. But the power of social media cannot be denied, and I know that sharing someone else’s post might lead to a person who was able to help in a way I couldn’t.