Raising Litter Mates


Yesterday, at about 5:30pm, I was forced to evacuate the house due to a nearby gas line explosion. Although all ended well - 6 hours later and we were able to return to our homes, the opposite could have easily happened - and it opened my eyes to how little prepared I was had this escalated into a more serious situation.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

We all love our fur balls immensely, naturally we care for them and coddle them and usually plan our lives around them ( I know I do, more than I like to admit sometimes ) but what I soon realized is that I wasn't as prepared as I should have been yesterday evening to protect and keep them safe in an emergency.

A nearby natural gas line had exploded, the crews were concerned as the gas was leaking into the sewers which could end up in our house. Our entire block was evacuated, and although I care about my neighbours very much, my responsibility lay in getting my pets and myself out safely, efficiently and quickly.

The dogs were not such an issue - they enjoy the car, they are comfortable in it, their leashes/collars are in an easily accessible area (near the door, in case of an emergency). The dogs are also well socialized and as long as they are securely leashed crews could have taken them without a problem, The cats, however, totally different story.

My cats are indoor cats - they go out back on sunny days but do not roam or leave the yard. They stick close to the dogs and I don't leave them outside if I leave the house. Driving one (1) cat alone is traumatic for both parties involved.. Imagine the stress of taking all four (4) at the same time!

The point of this post is to remind us all that anything can happen at anytime. Being a pet parent means that it is our responsibility to protect our companions the best we can in any situation. I may have extra food, bottled water, canned goods, warm blankets etc. to keep us going in "snowed in" situations, but I hadn't really thought about an evacuation situation. What if we need to pack up and leave - quickly? I can (ashamedly) admit that I was not as prepared as I should have been to carry out my responsibility as a pet owner.

Although all ended well, it could have just as easily took a turn for the worse. I will be putting together some important items and store them in an area close to the front door, for the pets and the people.

If you have cats - be sure to have appropriate carriers/restraints for each of them. One of my cats escaped from the car yesterday evening as I was getting ready to leave and due to the severity of the situation I had to leave her (she jumped the fence back into the backyard) and it was the most AWFUL feeling to have to drive away and hope that I can get back to her before it got dark. Lucky for me, a few hours later, the officer blocking our lane agreed to let me back to see if I could see her to let her in. I didn't have much time, he said I had to be VERY quick. She was wet, cold and scared, but remained in the backyard - I got there just before it got dark. Had I been prepared she would have been secured in a carrier, safe in the car.

I am also very lucky to have the most wonderful family-run doggy vacation lodge ( Silverdale Doggy Vacation Lodge, Mission, BC ) that the boys frequent when we are unable to take them with us and, now, for emergency situations. I could have kept them with me, but for this particular incident it was best for them to be safe with Margaret (owner of Silverdale Doggy Vacation Lodge).
The lodge is close by, the dogs LOVE it there, and I trust Margaret to care for them the way they are used to.

I will do a follow-up blog entry soon to share my preparedness bags with you - for now I have a lot of work to catch up on. Our power was out for a good chunk of the afternoon even before the evacuation.

Stay safe!

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