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Seeing what happened in the wake of Hurricane Ida to our neighbors in Gloucester County as well as all those in a wide swath from Louisiana to New York, I thought it would be timely to remind everyone about disaster preparedness for your pets.

It’s rather mind boggling that Hurricane Ida was more lethal at the end of its march up through the eastern part of the country, than it was when it was at its strongest down in Louisiana. The reason for that is clear though, the southern states were prepared, we were not.

Our local wildlife rehabilitator had a close call at her Mantua Township home when the tornado passed over and left major damage in its wake. She had just enough time to grab her dogs and head for the basement before the funnel went over and brought trees down all over her property.  There was no way to shield the animals housed in the outbuildings, but despite the destruction, all the animals survived without mishap.

Two massive trees were felled right by her house, miraculously falling in line with the sides of the home rather than on it. It did however, leave her without power and water. This is difficult enough when you just have yourself to worry about, but with numerous animals to care for, it’s quite an ordeal.

Twenty miles or so; that was the difference in the devastation wrought in Gloucester County and the smattering of heavy downpours we got here. One minor shift in the wind and it could have been those of us in Cumberland County running for our basements.

Would you know what to do? What to grab? What things would help ease the ordeal if you had them readily at hand?

The following is a list of things that you should have available in order to meet your pet’s needs should disaster strike:

  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener if your pet eats canned food.
  • Medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. Since many pets look alike, this will help to eliminate mistaken identity and confusion.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.

There are a number of mobile pet gear bags available in pet stores and online that make packing a few days’ worth of pet essentials easy. They have sealed food containers, bowls and organized storage for all their other gear.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but with these crazy, weather-related events affecting areas that normally don’t suffer extremes, we really need to be more aware of the risks and more proactive in our preparedness.

Stay safe!

Shelter needs: Pate’ style, canned dog and cat food; dog treats; cream cheese; peanut butter; cat nip; liquid hand soap; paper towels; and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.

Source: Are you prepared to take care of your pets if there’s a disaster?

Posted in 2021, SJRAS Articles