We live in the Midwest, the central part of the United States, and it seems like back in February, Spring started arriving here. We’ve had warmer than usual weather, wind and more sunshine than we’re used to this time of year. Nobody is complaining about that part. We’re also experiencing an early start to tornado season, with two major storms that have produced tornadoes already within the last week. People here tend to get complacent about these storms, but most people who live here do know that you can’t take them for granted. We have had enough serious, and even world famous storms go through our area to know that they can be deadly. As a matter of fact, the first storm of the season did take a few lives, as well as cause some pretty serious damage. I guess one good thing about them is that afterwards, our communities come out in droves to help clean up and support the victims of the storms.
If you have pets, planning ahead if time is crucial in the event of an emergency like a natural disaster. This time of year is a good time for a reminder about those things, even if you have gear prepared. The beginning of storm season is a good time to go through what you have and make sure that everything is still good and in working condition. Things like batteries and perishable items need to be replenished and a lot of us are guilty of grabbing something out of our emergency stash when a need arises and forgetting to put it back. We have two categories of things in case of an emergency in our house, things we need if we are trapped here at home and things we need to take if we have to leave.
Mr. Taleteller and Küster have to be ready to deploy for an emergency at a moment’s notice. They have enough gear packed into my husband’s trunk to last them for a few days if they have to take off, but they are an exception to the rule. Fortunately, their gear has given us insight into the things we need to have ready to grab and go if we would have to leave our house because of an emergency. One of the most important things to have if you need to leave is a First Aid kit for you and one for your dogs. We keep one in each of our cars, just in case. We have dog food in a container that we could grab and toss in the car, a crate that sets up easily in the back of my car for Morgan, a couple of dog beds that are always in the car and a bag with a few essentials that we can grab and toss in without having to hunt down a lot of things before we leave.
In the event that we’d be stranded at home, we have water in the basement, dog food, beds, a baby gate, an extra crate, a weather radio, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, and some nonperishable human food. Having a little of any Let’s face it, we don’t want to be faced with fighting the dogs for kibble if we’re all stuck down there for awhile. We also have a generator in the garage which has helped us to get through several storms where we were without power for up to a week. Having some extra battery packs for cell phones or tablets is a good idea, too, in case you need to contact someone. Trust me, your friends and family will be calling you a lot if they think there’s a chance you were hit by a severe storm. You’ll find out just how many people love you, and it’s probably more than you think, but it does take a drain on that cell phone battery.
Planning ahead is not a sure fire way to cover every base, but it will help you to feel less panicked. Not long after we got our first pair of Greyhounds, we realized that going down the basement stairs was something we needed to practice with them, especially our large male who was close to eighty pounds. I could have carried Treat down if I had to, but there would have been no carrying Hawk. Teaching them the stairs was a good first step, and we actually practiced what to do when the storm sirens went off several times until we felt confident that we could do it under pressure. I’d advise anybody who lives in a storm zone to practice what you’d do with your dogs in the event of a storm when there isn’t a storm and you’re not highly stressed. It gives you a good idea about what will go smoothly and what won’t. We learned that once we get a dog to the basement, we have to put up the baby gate or that dog follows us right back up to get the other dog.
I hope that none of our readers have to worry about getting caught in a bad storm, regardless of what kind it is, but planning ahead can make all the difference. Know the numbers of local shelters in case you and your dog get separated, or in case you can’t find a place to stay that allows you to keep your dog with you, since a lot of shelters will house pets after an emergency. Keep medical records for you and your dog handy. Talk to friends and family ahead of time so they know your wishes for your pets in case something happens to you. In short, don’t leave things to chance if you don’t have to. Storm season comes around every year, whether we want it to or not, and a little preparation will help you and your pet in the long run.