Paws for a Moment by Bonny Corbeil

Considering Hurricane Preparations for Our Pets

Our cultural Carnival celebration is over for another year and we all are recovering from our annual dancing in the streets.

August is just around the corner, followed by September — the month where we all take a deep breath and brace for possible storms! At this point, most of us have been well-drilled in hurricane preparedness. We have our lists of required supplies in the event of a storm; we check to ensure the best possible protection of home and property is in place.

But are we aware of what needs to be done to protect our pets and animals in the event of a storm?

There was once a time, when our attitude was that animals could simply “fend for themselves.” Not true! The importance of securing a plan in place for our pets was clearly seen during the extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the New Orleans area. In fact, lives were lost because people refused to leave their pets behind demonstrating the importance of pets as family members to our well-being. When disasters happen, we need the comfort of our pets. They help in our emotional recovery. We also have a responsibility as caretakers to ensure their safety during disasters.

The most important thing for us to do is to be sure our animals have ID tags! Most animals will survive disasters but many will never see their families again. Though this is less likely to happen on a small island like St. John, it is still important to have a tag for your animal. You will save yourself and your pet a lot of anguish by simply purchasing a dog tag at our Animal Care Center.

The cost is a mere $10.00 for a neutered animal; $25.00 for others. (This is our way of encouraging spay and neutering). This tag ensures that you will be immediately notified should your pet get lost in a storm. This simple purchase helps our ACC identify your pet at any point should they wander off throughout the year. There are many instances when a tag on a pet would have simplified the process of returning pets to their proper owners. Both the ACC and our local veterinary service have been kind in calling around to find out who owns pets that have been identified as lost. This is a time-consuming endeavor that can be remedied by pet owners simply purchasing a tag and collar! Please add this important item to your “to do list” today to ensure that you and your pet are in our ACC Directory for any possible, future separations. It is a simple, preventative measure to decrease heart-ache for both the owner and pet.

Now it is time to review a list for “Hurricane Pet Preparedness” remembering that even normally docile animals can behave strangely in storms and stressful situations.

A large bin works well to gather items that will be helpful in an emergency for your pets. Keep several days of food and water for your pets. Include empty plastic bags; any medication your pet is taking; a can opener; paper towels; a spoon for wet, canned food; litter as well as disposable litter trays if you have a cat. Always have restraints like collars and leashes on hand, as well as any animal crates so that you have more options to both protect and take your pet with you.

Animals are simply more accepted in travel if crated. A muzzle is also recommended in case your animal becomes injured or frightened. It is also considerate for others who are afraid of animals.

Remember that when you are frightened and stressed during storms, your pet is often the best source of comfort for you! Please, pause for a moment, and take the time to ensure your pet’s needs are ensured for the on-coming hurricane season.

ACC Take Note:
A very special “Thank You” to Jennifer Dale, Book and Bean, Kaleidoscope Video, Chelsea Drug Store and all other businesses who so generously allow our ACC to do their weekly adoption clinics at The Marketplace. We placed four puppies last week because of your kindness! We appreciate your continued ACC support.

Our ACC needs dog walkers on Wednesdays! Need a little exercise? Finding it hard to meet with friend to chat? How about a “doggy date” with a girlfriend? It can be a win-win for all involved. Come see us at the ACC and start a new St. John trend….”Gal Pal Doggie Dating”! Our homeless animals will be so grateful for your time.