R. Ann Parris on Prep With Pets ““ Left Behind


Prep With Pets — Left Behind by R. Ann Parris for PrepperGroups.com

Don’t leave your animals behind, period. There are too many options, particularly in well-established nations. Pet or livestock, we took responsibility for them when we brought them home. There are any number of heartbreaks waiting when we’re prepping with pets — with pets, period really — but we owe it to them to make arrangements.

Big disaster or small, those arrangements require some forethought and active planning.
I’ll cover other specific facets of pets elsewhere as we go along, from things we should practice like leashing or leading and loading, socialization, basic skills they should have, and gear that can help, here, I want to start with the bare-bones, basic, cardinal rule that applies 100% across the board.

There is no reason we should be leaving our animals behind, ever.

We have too much forewarning of most disasters, even the “fast” disasters. There are very few exceptions — a handful of specific “what if” scenarios in the hundreds of disasters we see annually.

Leaving animals trapped is a death sentence.

A storm or fire that should have missed us and was just an inconvenience slows down, swerves or fails to turn, and, boom, it’s on our doorstep. High water turns to fires. Power outages lead to extreme heat or cold, and can also lead to high water and fires. Water alone is full of risks.

In the aftermath of disasters, rescue and recovery is largely focused on humans with very small cadres heading out specifically to try to get swimming animals out of houses, un-mired from bogs, and out of the trees and off the roofs they accessed during floods. They are very few and far between, and communication with them at that point is difficult and slow and commonly delivered in relays.

Prepare for evacuations.

There is a whole list of why somebody who only prepares for the everyday job loss and weather-related disasters might end up pushed out. Same for those with well-establish castle retreats and whole rosters of prep team members. It’s its own topic.

Part of those evacuations are our animals.

If we cannot get all of our animals out with our available vehicle/driver teams, we need to reach out now.

I am baffled by the number of large-animal or multiple-animal owners who do not own a trailer, or even a pickup with sides and enough crates for pets, let alone livestock. Some of them, however, are mini-rescues, and few ranches maintain enough vans for all their stock at once.

For them, and regular households that depend on mass transportation or a shared vehicle, we need to make arrangements ahead of time.

Like, now, ahead of time.

We do not have to say we’re preppers. We are becoming more aware of the wide array of disasters that might make our homes uninhabitable, we face X challenge, and we are trying to figure out ahead of any disaster how we might get our animals out safely, too.

This line is important, because we’re about to repeat it endlessly on the phone. Because if we can’t get our animals out, and we know it, we need to be contacting rescues, shelters humane societies, ASPCA, our sheriff’s department or similar, and the emergency management office, and asking for help and who to contact when should something bad happen.

Don’t delay at crunch time — Act, and act fast.

As soon as a fire or flood event threatens, start making those tags that were noted and developed. We can’t predict tornadoes well enough yet, but having those contacts saved with other important information can help in those cases, too.

As soon as an inkling pops up, we should be packing or gathering what’s already packed, to include the go bags for our animals, whether they’re going with us or not, and the things we’ll attach to our animals to help ensure we get them back if there’s an accident, we’re separated, or we’re leaving them with an agency while we evacuate elsewhere.

As soon as authorities say it’s time to go, go. Ideally, at “go” we’re already on the road — it’ll make for a faster, less-stressful trip for all involved.

It also lessens the chances that something else goes wrong, and puts us all in danger or makes our move too late.

We’re more likely to get the best, fastest help if we already have the contacts we need and can start ahead of the game with the people we need already narrowed down when something happens, whether it’s a personal or hugely localized upset, or something far ranging, fast-moving like a fire or the longer prep allowed with a hurricane.

Whatever it takes, get them out. If we can’t enact an evac ourselves, we have to have help. It’s that simple.

Animals are rescued and reunited with owners in the wake of disasters. More of them die, though, and more of the ones that are rescued are never reunited. Making preparations like the contacts we need — and others — can ensure our animals aren’t part of the untold, uncelebrated masses.

They may not be family to everyone, and not everyone will feel the same level of commitment to them, even or especially livestock. They are, however, living being capable of fear and pain. And they are, inarguably, our responsibility once we take them on. Don’t leave them behind.