A quick note: A few weeks ago I discovered that Bandit’s tags were missing. I keep them in a tag pocket on his collar to protect them, and the entire pocket with all the tags was gone. I immediately got him a new ID tag. After my experience with hundreds to thousands of lost dogs after Hurricane Katrina, I wanted Bandit to be easily identified from a tag (even though he is microchipped), if for some reason he got lost. For more information, look for the special offer on the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book at the end of this article.
I’m excited because I’m preparing for a trip to swim with wild dolphins (if they’re willing) in Bimini with animal communicator Mary Getten. In 2008, I had amazing encounters with gray whales at Laguna San Ignacio on a trip with Mary. I’ve been reading books by Rachel Smolker and Horace Dobbs about encounters with wild dolphins. I knew that dolphins are remarkably intelligent, and reading these stories impressed me about just how connected they are. We’re often ignorant of other species’ capabilities and needs unless we take time to observe them and get to know them.
Smolker wrote about a wild dolphin, called Holly, in Australia. When Smolker was in the water with Holly one day, Holly tried to get Smolker to swim down into deeper water, but she didn’t follow the dolphin because the water was murky and she couldn’t see well. Holly then dove down alone and carried something up from the bottom of the sea. It was the toolkit that had been lost from Smolker’s boat in a recent violent storm. Holly the dolphin had retrieved Smolker’s lost toolkit!
Dobbs wrote a similar story about a dolphin, called Donald, in England. Dobbs had lost his new underwater camera when the strap broke. He’d been searching for it for a while when Donald dove to the bottom of the sea and pointed to the lost camera, finding it for Dobbs. This is another example of a dolphin helping a person find something they had lost! After spending much time swimming in the ocean with wild dolphins, Dobbs hypothesized that they used their sonar to identify the heartbeats of their human friends from a distance.
During the same week I was reading the dolphin books, while out doing errands I heard snatches of a cancer researcher speaking on the radio. I later looked up the broadcast and found the podcast at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/04/27/mpr_news_presents/. Dr. David Agus, cancer doctor and best-selling author of the book The End of Illness, spoke about diet and exercise and genes, but what jumped out at me the most is what he said about dogs. He said that the landmark Framingham Heart Study showed that the most protective factor for our hearts is having a dog. People who have dogs are healthier because dogs keep us on a regular schedule. He stated that having a regular schedule for diet, sleep, and exercise is even more important than how much food or sleep or exercise we get.
When asked how this helps, Agus said that our bodies don’t like surprises. Our bodies care about surviving, and having a predictable and regular schedule helps our bodies know what to expect. Stress hormones are more likely to be activated when our bodies are surprised or miss something. When we have responsibility for a dog, we’re more likely to go to bed and get up at a certain time, have regular mealtimes, and go out regularly to walk the dog. We have to get home by a certain time to let the dog out and are less likely to stay out late because we have to get home to the dog (or we know that the dog will wake us up early even if we stay up too late!). This regular schedule is good for our bodies.
I knew that having a dog was good for my heart, but I hadn’t thought about it this way!
Next Dr. Agus said something that I hadn’t exactly heard before. He said that if you work out for an hour per day and sit for the rest of the day, all that sitting negates the benefits of the one hour of working out. Sitting for too long isn’t good for us because our lymphatic system has no muscles. When we walk around, the rhythmic contractions in our leg muscles circulate the lymph, helping our bodies get rid of waste. Helping the lymphatic system drain regularly by moving around makes us healthier. People who go to the gym for an hour per day may be fit in some ways, but their chance of getting cancer isn’t reduced by exercising unless they continue to move around throughout the day. People who have dogs tend to move around more regularly. This helps drain our lymph nodes and keep us healthy. Of course, this probably only pertains to people whose dogs live in the house with them and who spend time with and pay attention to their dogs.
According to this thinking, Bandit hitting me on the leg with the rubber chicken or dropping the ball in my lap when I’ve been sitting at the computer for too long is actually helping me stay healthy. Every time I take a short break to go outside, run around with the dogs and kick the ball, I’m milking my lymph nodes, helping clean junk out of my system. I always thought Bandit was a genius. He’s even more of a genius than I realized. I call him my recreation director, but perhaps I should call him my personal trainer too.
In turn, I do many things to help keep my dogs healthy. I give them off leash exercise, with room to run every day. I take regular breaks to play outside with them. I let them be dogs, don’t give them junk food, don’t use harmful chemicals on the lawn or the carpet or the floors of our house, avoid exposing them to toxic substances, let them express their natural instincts like tracking and herding, take care of their basic grooming needs and veterinary care, feed them high quality grain free food, and, of course, give them Omega Canine Shine® and Omega Nuggets™ to help meet their nutritional needs.
Dolphins and dogs are more intelligent and aware than most people realize. They give us their best. In turn, let’s take good care of them too. Next month I’ll report back on my visit with the wild dolphins and on Chase’s therapy dog certification and stint as an acupressure demo dog.
Great gift for dog lovers, graduates, dads, and more: Signed, hard cover copies of The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book are available for $15 each (40% off). Email me at jenny@8StateKate.net with “BOOK ORDER” or “BOOK INQUIRY” in the subject line. Quantity discounts are available for orders of 10 or more books. Find more info and the book trailer video at http://www.8statekate.net/wordpress/?page_id=1542.
Cayenne turned four years old on June 17th – at least that’s our best guess. The youngest dog here at my home in Minnesota, she occupies the bottom of our small pack. She’s the blond dog in the middle in the photo.
Jenny, Chase, Cayenne, and Bandit
Photo by L.S. Originals of Fridley, Minnesota
Cay has come a very long way since I first heard about her litter four years ago. When I checked the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue, Inc. (ACDRI) hotline messages in July of 2007, I heard a message from a woman in Tennessee. Debbie Foster (an appropriate name!) of the Henderson County Humane Society was caring for a litter of seven very young puppies that had been rescued from the wilderness. They had apparently been dumped, with no mama dog around, and had been found by a local man, a recluse who had taken them to Debbie. She nursed the pups through an almost fatal bout of coccidia and contacted ACDRI for help finding them homes because she thought they were Australian Cattle Dog mixes.
I learned that Debbie and her family were the Henderson County Humane Society, doing as much as they could with very little. When ACDRI wasn’t willing to help, I worked with Debbie to find safe places for the puppies. One pup was adopted in Tennessee. In the fall of 2007, three went to Sue Cameron-Day of Meet the Pack ACD Rescue in Ontario and three of them came to Homeward Bound Rescue here in Minnesota. I thought my job was done. Little did I know that one of those puppies was going to choose me!
I followed the pups’ progress from afar. Months later, Katie of Homeward Bound asked me if I would foster “Zulu”. She was being fostered with a group of other dogs and was so intimidated at adoption events that it was hard to find her a home. She needed more human interaction and one-on-one time with a person. I had two dogs already and was very hesitant about bringing home another dog. I eventually agreed to foster Zulu if she got along with my other dogs. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to take her to all the adoption events, but Katie wasn’t concerned about that.
Puppy “Zulu”, a.k.a. Cayenne
When I first brought Zulu home in April of 2008, two of us had to pry her from the back of the travel crate. She had been swimming in a pond at the foster home and had probably peed on herself during the car ride. Poor girl; she was a mess. She smelled so awful that I had to give her a bath before she could live in my house. She wasn’t comfortable with me or the bathtub, but she gradually began to relax with my gentle massage and kind words.
I quickly realized that Zulu got along with other dogs, but wasn’t comfortable with people. She hadn’t had a bad experience with people – she seemed to have had almost no experience with people. She must have spent a lot of time huddled in the back of a crate. Her feet splayed like stars, indicating that she had spent most of her time hiding and hadn’t gotten enough exercise. She wobbled on an under-developed rear end. Her hocks were so flimsy, they almost bent backwards.
She hadn’t learned much from her mother either. Canine etiquette was beyond her. She lacked social skills and was clumsy around the other dogs, crashing into them and barking hysterically when they defended themselves. Sometimes she didn’t have a clue.
She had skin allergies and a nervous habit of scratching and licking herself, creating bald patches on her side and rear end. What was I going to do with this poor girl? I had worked with a dog who was fine with people, but terrified of other dogs. I hadn’t worked with a dog who was fine with other dogs, but terrified of people. I had a lot to learn!
Bandit, Chase and I began the long process of letting Zulu get used to us. For the longest time, she hid out and avoided eye contact. She was afraid of the dark and didn’t want to go outside for the last potty break before bed, even when I turned the yard lights on and went out with her. At first, we didn’t do any formal training, other than letting her follow the other dogs’ example for the house rules, and teaching her to walk on a leash with me. I just wanted her to learn how to be a dog and be comfortable in her own skin.
On June 3, 2008, I wrote in my blog:
Cay came when I called her today! She was hungry and saw me give a treat to Chase! Chase comes on a whistle and Bandit comes when called by name. Without formal training, Cay has picked up on the whistle. Now when I whistle, she races Chase to get to me first.
Cay still doesn’t like to go out in the dark early in the morning or late at night, even with the porch and yard lights on. I have to put a leash on her in the evening to take her out in the yard. I think her fear of the dark is left over from being dumped in the wilderness with her littermates. Who knows what was out there in the dark. I’ve found that rescued dogs come with different fears and anxieties and we don’t always know what caused them. I’ve never had a dog before that I knew to be afraid of the dark.
Somehow everyone decided that this dog belonged with me. I was the last to know.
Cay rode along when my other dogs went to herd sheep and cattle. There she met new people who gave her praise and treats, and she saw different kinds of animals. She climbed hills and went on walks every day with my other dogs and me, running and playing in a big fenced field. Her muscles developed and her coat took on a healthy sheen. After months with us she looked me in the eye one day and, for the first time, I noticed the depth of her gorgeous dark brown eyes. I realized then that she had never looked directly back at me before, but had always turned her head away. Now she was looking back and she had the most beautiful dark brown eyes I had ever seen.
Somehow everyone decided that this dog belonged with me. I was the last to know. I really resisted keeping a third dog. She was needy, unstable, hard on the other dogs and made our lives more complicated. But then I noticed that the people who inquired about her seemed to be needy, unstable, and complicated – the last thing she needed. When I saw her making gradual progress, I didn’t want to disrupt her life again. And so she is still here.
Cayenne, August 2008
I began to call her Cayenne, because her darker highlights are the color of cayenne pepper. Plus I knew there was some spice inside her somewhere – we just had to find it.
Maybe Cay felt my change in commitment. She began to come out of her shell more, revealing a depth that had been masked by skittish behavior, furtive glances, and a hunched posture. She was beginning to let me in.
As Cay became comfortable in our home and in her own skin, she learned to be a happy, confident dog. Beginning about six months after she came to live with us, she and I completed three levels of obedience classes. She learned to go for a ride in the truck with me, without the other dogs. During the first class, we worked mostly on getting her used to strange dogs, sounds, and movements all around her. She wasn’t comfortable with anything happening behind her and spun around if she heard activity there. But she was very biddable and wanted to please me. By the end of the third class she was doing all of the exercises faithfully. Although she had been developmentally delayed since she was a pup, I discovered that she was a very smart dog when she overcame her fears.
Cay decided one night that she wanted to sleep spread out on the dog bed, not curled up in the back of her crate. So I left the crate door open and she slept stretched out on the dog bed all night, taking up plenty of space. This was quite an accomplishment for a girl who used to curl up in the back of her crate whenever she was scared or tired. She was learning to TAKE UP SPACE, a big step! She was happy to be “outside of the box”!
One day I let Cay try sheep herding. She was interested and excited that she could move the sheep by turning her body. She was so confident in herself that day that when we got home, she jumped up on my bed for the first time ever! I guess she thought her new accomplishment had earned her that privilege.
Cay had come a long way and had developed enough muscle to stabilize her back end. But almost two years after she joined our family, she still had nervous energy and habits. I looked for an activity that she and I could do together, separate from the other dogs, to build her confidence and our relationship and help her expel her nervous energy without scratching and licking herself. I decided to enroll her in an agility class, even though I didn’t think she could maneuver all of the obstacles due to her poor rear structure.
Last August at the Dog Days of Stockholm (in Stockholm, Wisconsin), I received samples of Omega Fields’ Omega Canine Shine® supplement and Omega Nuggets™ treats. Adding these Omega-3-rich, flax-based products to Cay’s diet healed her skin and coat. The hair grew back over her bald patches and her coat became soft and silky.
I was amazed with Cay’s progress as she quickly mastered the agility obstacles. First she had to get to know all the people and dogs in the class. Then she followed my lead as I guided her through the obstacles. One week, two guests came to observe the class. Cay was so distracted by the strangers that she had to be introduced to them before she was able to run the obstacle course.
I was an experienced handler, having trained and trialed other dogs in agility. Cay learned to do the tunnel, low jumps, and even the contact obstacles that challenged her. In the beginning though, she didn’t think she could jump up on the pause table. I realized this was due to her weak back end, but I also knew she could jump that high because she had jumped up on my bed at home. I worked with Cay and my other dogs at home, having the others jump on the table first, then giving her the opportunity. With a lot of convincing and some special treats, Cay learned that she could, indeed, jump up on the table. The next time we went to class, she completed all the obstacles in an agility course. On the last day of class, Cay was the only dog in the class to run two perfect courses with two clean runs. That’s quite an accomplishment for an abandoned puppy who almost didn’t survive, and was afraid of her own shadow, isn’t it? Agility taught Cay and me that together we can conquer any obstacle. Great job Cay! You have come a long way.
The agility instructor asked me if Cay was a Carolina Dog. I wasn’t familiar with the breed, but I learned that Carolina Dogs run feral in southern regions of the country and are becoming a recognized breed. I realized then that Cay’s litter may have been feral, which would explain a lot. Cay looks much like a Carolina Dog, but her littermate sister looks more like a red Australian Cattle Dog. Perhaps they’re a mix of the two breeds.
Cay with Hot Spot on Side, May 2009
As she turned three years old, Cay continued to suffer from skin problems apparently caused by allergies, a weak immune system, and a nervous habit of licking and biting herself whenever she was nervous or intimidated. Seasonal allergies intensified her itching problems. As I worked to solve Cay’s skin problems, I learned more about canine nutrition, food allergies and contact allergies. I fed her a limited ingredient diet, herbal supplements to help cool her skin, and other supplements to help support her skin, coat and immune system.
Cay at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society Woofer & Hoofer Walk, June 2010
Photo by Allen Anderson
Last August at the Dog Days of Stockholm (in Stockholm, Wisconsin), I received samples of Omega Fields’ Omega Canine Shine® supplement and Omega Nuggets™ treats. Adding these Omega-3-rich, flax-based products to Cay’s diet healed her skin and coat. The hair grew back over her bald patches and her coat became soft and silky.
Omega Fields products transformed Cay’s skin and coat to a new level of vitality. That’s why you’ll see me handing out samples of Omega Nuggets and Omega Canine Shine at the Dog Days of Stockholm (www.dogdaysofstockholm.com) on August 6th this year. Please join me for a celebration of the dogs in our lives, and to support local rescue organizations like Braveheart Rescue, Inc. (www.braveheartrescueinc.com) who give dogs like Cayenne an opportunity for a happy life. I’ll speak about the dogs in our lives and emergency preparedness for your family and pets, sign my books to help support Braveheart Rescue, Inc., and hand out Omega Fields samples for your dogs. If it’s not too hot, you may even get to meet Cay!
I’m amazed by all that my dogs have taught me! We make the world a better place, even if helping only one animal at a time. And they make the world a better place by turning us into better people. Cayenne taught me that a dog who’s afraid of her own shadow can eventually bond to a person. With time and patience and love this scaredy dog learned to smile and be happy, to run up to a person to be petted. She’s wiggly and joyful now, and seeks attention from my friends. Cayenne taught me to be patient and that the waiting is worthwhile. She loves me now, and fully participates in life. That is one of my greatest accomplishments, ever.
See you on August 6th at the Dog Days of Stockholm!
Mark your calendars and hightail it to the second annual Dog Days of Stockholm on Friday and Saturday, August 5-6, 2011 in beautiful Stockholm, Wisconsin! This family-friendly, dog-friendly community festival on the banks of Lake Pepin in western Wisconsin provides great fun for dogs and dog lovers alike. Stockholm is a short drive from the Rochester, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Eau Claire areas.
On Friday night, party outdoors on the grounds of the historic Old School House. Enjoy wine, cheese, pie, and music under the stars from 7 to 9:30 pm (admission $5). Steve Meyer & The Blues Dogs Band will rock out live boogie rock and oldies. All ages are welcome. Put in your bids for Saturday’s Silent Auction and buy your second Annual Dog Days T-shirts. When you’re away from the big city lights, you really can see the stars!
On Saturday, Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV fame is back as master of ceremonies for the Festival in Village Park (10 am to 5 pm, admission $5 for ages 16 and up, FREE parking). Enter your dog in the Best Smile, Best Dog Trick, Dog-Person Lookalike, and other contests. Watch agility demonstrations and see a Border collie herd ducks. Visit vendors offering people food, dog supplies and services, animal communication, and pet treats for sale.
Meet author Jenny Pavlovic, who will speak about disaster preparedness for your family and pets and sign her award-winning books, 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog and the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book. Omega Fields® will provide free Omega Nuggets treat samples in your gift bags and you can sign up at Jenny’s booth for a chance to win a free pound of Omega Canine Shine®, a wonderful flaxseed based supplement for your dog!
All proceeds of the festival (less expenses) will be donated to local animal rescue organizations. Please bring an unoped can or bag of quality pet food to donate. Meet representatives of local dog rescue groups and their rescued dogs in need of permanent homes. Nearly all of the dogs shown last year were adopted – let’s get more dogs adopted this year!
Also at Dog Days of Stockholm…
·Animal Actor Trainer, noted lifestyle photographer, and Omega Fields Spokesperson Barbara O’Brien of the Animal Connection will teach us how to get good photos of our dogs!
·Animal communicator Sage Lewis will tell why our pets act the way they do!
·A working dog will demonstrate police dog and search & rescue moves!
·Other fun demonstrations will include: dog agility, dog Frisbee, groomers, dog tricks, even a dog rap artist!
Stockholm, Wisconsin, population 99, is about 75 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul, 50 miles from Eau Claire, WI and 60 miles from Rochester, MN. Stockholm and the nearby communities of Maiden Rock and Pepin (the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder) are a fun mix of artists of all disciplines, traditional farm families, funky galleries, bed ‘n breakfasts, restaurants, and local shops.
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(Please note: This article includes information from the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book. Although it was originally written for dogs, it also applies to cats and other animals in your care.)
Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects on people, animals and property. In recent months, floods created havoc in the Midwest and tornados left wide paths of destruction across southern states. June 1st marks the official start of the hurricane season. Most people don’t expect disaster to strike their own homes and families, but I encourage you to make a disaster plan for your family and pets.
If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be prepared. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area—hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold or blizzards, tornadoes, flooding, or terrorism. Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing your own shelter, first aid, food, water, medications, and sanitation.
Being prepared may reduce the fear, anxiety, and losses that can accompany disasters. People should be ready to evacuate their homes, take refuge in public shelters if needed, and know how to care for their basic medical needs. People may also reduce the impact of disasters, and sometimes avoid danger completely, by taking preventive measures such as flood-proofing their homes and securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake.
You have a responsibility to protect yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after a catastrophic event. Here are some examples:
• Purchase insurance to protect against financial loss. Consider including flood insurance, which is not part of your homeowner’s policy
• Know the risks and danger signs of an impending disaster in your area
• Develop a specific disaster response plan
• Prepare a kit with disaster supplies
• Put your plan into action. Be ready to evacuate before the disaster occurs
• Keep all family members safe, including the animals in your care
• Follow the advice and guidance of officials in charge of the event
• Repair damaged property
• Take steps to prevent or reduce future loss
• Re-evaluate your disaster plan with your family and make recommended changes
• Re-stock your disaster supply kit
• Enjoy quality time with your family, and pat yourself on the back for being prepared
Your Disaster Plan
The following information is intended to simplify disaster preparedness. Please read it and plan ahead now.
Obtain Information from Local Officials
Contact your area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT, www.citizencorps.gov/cert) to find out about hazards that may threaten your community. Learn your community’s emergency plans, including how you will be warned and which evacuation routes are to be used when a disaster occurs. Your local CERT can also provide basic disaster response training specific to your community. If no CERT is available in your area, contact your local emergency response officials for information, and consider organizing a local CERT. Your family can learn basic safety and first aid skills from the local CERT or Red Cross.
Create a Family Disaster Plan
A disaster is an extremely stressful situation that can create confusion. Knowledge and preparation may save lives. The best emergency plans are simple so people can remember the important details.
Discuss Possible Disasters and Know What to Do
Discussing disasters ahead of time can reduce fear and anxiety by preparing people to respond properly. Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disasters. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and other possible disasters, and discuss what to do in each case. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss what to do if family members are not together when a disaster occurs.
Plan for Your Pets
Plan where to take your pets in a disaster. If you must go to a public shelter, you may need to make a different plan for your pets. Pets (with the exception of service dogs) usually are not allowed in public shelters where food is served to people. Some Red Cross shelters partner with animal emergency response groups to provide emergency animal shelters nearby, but please plan ahead.
What to Include in Your Disaster Response Plan
Escape Routes from Your Home
Make sure that all family members know how they will escape from your home, in the case of a fire or other damage to the home. Draw a floor plan, using a blank sheet of paper for each floor. Mark two escape routes from each room. Make sure children understand the drawings and know what to do without assistance (if possible). Post a copy of the drawings at eye level in each child’s room. Figure out how to assist family members who need physical help. Decide how you will evacuate companion animals. Practice or simulate exiting your home via the escape routes to make sure everyone understands and is capable of following the plan. The practice of going through the motions may make an actual emergency evacuation go more smoothly.
Places to Re-Group
Agree on two places to meet, one near your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, and one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home or are asked to leave the immediate area. An example near your home is the telephone pole next door. An example farther away is a grocery store parking lot. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of the meeting location, but remember that cell phones and/or landlines may not be working.
Family Communication Plan
Separation during a disaster is a real possibility during the day, when adults are at work and children are at school. Plan how you will contact one another if your family is separated when disaster strikes. Ask a relative or friend who lives outside your area to be your family contact. Complete a contact information card for each family member to keep handy in a vehicle, wallet, purse, and/or backpack. You may want to have one on file at school for each child. Make sure family members know the contact’s name, address, and phone number, and check in with the contact in an emergency. Program important numbers into cell phones, but don’t count on always having cell phones available when needed.
Depending on the type of disaster, it may be necessary to evacuate both your home and neighborhood. Discuss what to do if authorities ask you to evacuate. Designate a family member to shut off household utilities if this can be done safely before leaving. Make sure this person knows what to do.
Follow the advice of local officials during evacuation situations. They will know which roads may be blocked or could put you in further danger and will direct you to the safest route. Be familiar with community escape routes, and plan several escape routes in case some roads are blocked or closed.
Learn about shelter locations or make arrangements for a place to stay with a friend or relative who lives out of town. If you need a place to stay with your pet, find a pet-friendly hotel listed on one of the following websites: petfriendlyhotel.org, petswelcome.com, and pet-friendly-hotels.net.
If you or someone close to you has a disability or special needs, you may need to take additional protective steps to prepare for an emergency. Special arrangements may be needed for people who don’t speak English, the hearing impaired and mobility impaired, those without vehicles, and those with special dietary needs. Elderly people living alone, single parents, and people with multiple pets and/or livestock may need assistance with emergency evacuation.
The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book includes a template for making a disaster preparedness plan for your family.
LEAVE NO ANIMAL BEHIND
Animals are especially dependent on people for their survival when disasters strike. That is why you, as a caregiver, need to take the time—now—to prepare to evacuate and care for your pets on short notice. Disaster planning for pets need not be an overwhelming task! By completing the following two life-saving steps, you are well on your way to protecting your pet:
1. Plan a safe way to transport your pets
2. Know where you’re going to take your pets
Choose someone you trust to take care of your pets if you’re not at home when a disaster strikes. Plan with neighbors, friends, or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to get home. Share your evacuation plans with your pets’ caregiver, show them where you keep your emergency supply kit, and provide telephone numbers of emergency contacts outside of the immediate area. Leave your dog’s Not Without My Dog Book in a sealed plastic bag, to go along with your dog.
Make sure your kennel, pet sitter, and doggy day care provider all have actionable disaster plans, in case your dog is in someone else’s care when a disaster strikes. Prepare yourself and your dog for a disaster situation by writing a Dog Disaster Plan and putting together a Dog Disaster Supply Kit (templates are included in the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book).
Your Dog Disaster Plan should include the following information:
How I will transport my dog(s):
Designated emergency dog guardian(s) and contact info:
Location of Dog Disaster Supply Kit:
My emergency contact information (phone #s):
Places to take my dog(s) in an emergency (addresses and phone #s):
Hotels that welcome dogs (addresses and phone #s):
Plan ahead by preparing a disaster supply kit for your pets. Plan to be self-sufficient for atleast the first three days when evacuating, and store enough supplies for three weeks athome. Pack your kit in a secure, easy-to-carry, water-resistant container stored in aconvenient place known to all family members. Plan to travel with your pets ridingsafely in secured crates.
The above information should help your family and pets get ready for a disaster. Once you’re prepared, you can enjoy the summer without worrying about what steps to take if and when disaster strikes.
This article includes information from The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book and provided by Noah’s Wish (www.NoahsWish.info), an organization dedicated to assisting animals in disasters. Learn more at www.8StateKate.net.
What You Can Do Now to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost and to Help You Find a Lost Dog
As spring arrives, I receive more and more notices about lost dogs. These stories break my heart because I know that many of these dogs will never find their way home, and that their loss could have been prevented. I learned a lot about lost dogs from my post-Katrina animal rescue experience. Today I’m sharing this information from the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book to help keep all dogs safe.
Nobody thinks they’re going to lose their dog, but please read this anyway. Planning ahead might help keep her safe. The panic and pain of losing your dog might be avoided completely by taking these steps now. If you do lose her, the tips below may help you find her quickly.
1. Socialize your dog: Help your dog get used to different situations, including people and loud noises. A dog that isn’t terrified may be less likely to get lost, and if lost, may be less likely to hide and thus easier to find.
2. Train your dog to wait: Teach your dog to wait while you go out the door first, and when you open the crate door. Use a release word to let the dog know when she is free to exit. This will keep your dog from bolting out the door or leaping out of the car before you can snap on the leash.
3. Train your dog to come when called: Teach your dog to come to you when called. When she comes, reward her with praise and great treats. Never scold a dog you have called, even if she takes forever to get to you. Always make coming to you a good experience.
4. Train your dog the drop: Teach your dog to drop to the ground on command, so that she may be stopped by your voice if running away and prevented from running into the street. Start by teaching your dog to drop at your side and gradually move away so she’ll do the drop from a distance.
5. Collar and ID: Make sure your dog wears a secure collar with current ID tags.
Include a phone number where you can be reached and a back-up phone number for a second person who can easily be reached by phone.
6. Microchip: Have an identifying microchip implanted under your dog’s skin at a vet clinic or humane society (*see detailed information on microchips below). Attach a tag with the microchip number to the dog’s collar. Register the chip and make sure the microchip company has your current contact information. Keep a record of the microchip number and the company’s phone number in a safe place (like your wallet) and add it to your dog’s file at the vet clinic and the local dog licensing facility. Contact the microchip company and the licensing facility if your dog is lost. Some microchip companies will issue urgent bulletins and provide special assistance if your dog is lost.
7. Photos: Take clear, current photos of your dog from several angles in good lighting. Digital photos are easiest to distribute quickly by e-mail. Store back-up copies with a friend or family member who can access the photos on short notice.
8. Description: Write a description of your dog as if writing for a person who doesn’t know dog breeds. Include color, approximate weight, and unusual markings or scars. For example, my dog Bandit has a unique cowlick down the middle of his face, a black triangle marking on his tail, and a toenail that sticks out sideways from an old injury.
9. Info packet: Keep information about your dog in your vehicle’s glove compartment. Include photos, a written description, microchip info/ID number, contact info, and a copy of recent vet records. A copy of the most recent information in your dog’s Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book could serve the purpose!
10. Contact person: Ask a friend or family member to be a contact person – someone who could easily be reached by phone while you were out searching for your dog. The dog could be lost in an area without cell phone reception, and you wouldn’t want to be sitting at home waiting for phone calls when you could be out looking for your dog.
11. Amber Alert for Pets: I recently learned of an online “amber alert” network for lost pets. I don’t have direct experience with this network, but you can find more information at www.FindToto.com.
12. The Missing Pet Partnership is a good resource for people who are searching for their lost dog, with helpful pet recovery and “Lost Dog” poster information on their website: www.MissingPetPartnership.org.
*What a Microchip Is and How to Use One
A microchip is a computer chip in a capsule, about the size of a grain of rice, that’s encoded with a unique ID number. It is permanently implanted and can identify your dog if she is lost or stolen. A microchip is the only sure way for someone else to identify your dog if the collar is removed or lost, and can provide security and peace of mind.
The microchip is painlessly injected beneath the skin of a dog, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip remains inactive until read by a handheld scanner that sends a low-frequency radio signal to the chip. The chip then transmits an ID number to the scanner. The technology used in microchips is similar to that used in human implants like pacemakers. Since the microchip is powered by the external reader, it is off most of the time and does not require a battery. Thus, one chip is expected to function for your dog’s entire life.
A microchip can be implanted by your veterinarian or at a local animal shelter or humane society. Animal shelters and humane societies often hold low-cost microchipping clinics. If your dog has a microchip, you need toregister your contact information with the microchip company. Include an out-of-state emergency phone contact since local communication may be difficult in a disaster situation. Keep your dog’s microchip information on file with your veterinarian and update your vet and the microchip company right away when your contact information changes. The microchip canonly reunite you with your dog if people know how to reach you. For peace of mind, ask your veterinarian to scan your dog’s microchip at each visit to make sure it is still detectable.
_____ Have a microchip implanted under your dog’s skin. Make sure the implanter scans and reads the chip before and after it’s implanted to verify that it’s working correctly. Record the chip ID number and company info and keep it in your dog’s Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book and/or your wallet.
_____ Register your contact information with the microchip manufacturer right away. Include an out-of-state contact as an emergency back-up.
_____ Enter your dog’s microchip information in the International Pet Directory at www.PetLink.net.
_____ Make sure the microchip number and company are filed with your dog’s records at the vet clinic. Ask your vet to scan and check the chip at each visit.
_____ Update the microchip company, your veterinarian, and www.PetLink.net immediately when your contact information changes.
_____ Make sure your dog wears a collar with ID, the quickest way to identify your dog, especially for those who do not have a microchip reader. The microchip is not intended to take the place of a collar with ID, but it is valuable when other identification is lost.
_____ If your dog is lost or stolen, report the lost dog at www.PetLink.net and contact the microchip company immediately. Some companies already have networks set up and will issue an all-points bulletin to the vet clinics, impounds and animal shelters in your area.
Now that you’ve taken steps to prevent your dog from getting lost, and to make your dog easily identifiable if separated from you, the two of you can enjoy spring and summer activities without worries.
From the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book (Ó2010) by Jenny Pavlovic, www.8StateKate.net
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