Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

How To Not Kill Your Pets in a Hurricane

It's very easy to kill your household animals in a hurricane. The easiest way is to suddenly panic and have to leave your house and lock your animals in it. Or, if you live in Red Hook, perhaps you will lock your chickens in their coop and then leave the neighborhood, forcing your neighbors to risk their lives in chest-deep water to save them. In other parts of town, people locked up or tied up dogs and cats, because they didn't know what to do, and left birds in cages—and abandoned them. These things happen! Most of us would agree that it is better to save yourself first when things suddenly go south. (I say "most" because Morrissey would definitely not agree.) The good news, at least, is: it's really hard to kill cats, even if you lock them in a house when an enormous storm surge is coming. They will get out, they will swim and climb trees. They will use dogs as floatation devices. They will DEAL WITH IT. And then they will scratch your face off when you come back. Reasonable.

As always, the tip to not killing animals is: preparation.

In the tri-state area, we've all learned a little—or possibly quite a lot—about hurricane preparedness this month. My top three hurricane priorities are now:

1. Having cash on hand before the storm for when credit card readers and cash registers and ATMs no longer work, and also for when we become a post-apocalyptic society overnight (also this is when you buy "cigarettes" and "ground coffee" and "bread");

2. Having water in the house, so, filling up bathtubs and sinks;

3. And getting the pet carriers out and putting them by the door, well before the storm comes. And "having a plan" about where to take them. So that way, even if I lose everything I own and feel terrible and become destitute, at least I haven't killed these particular animals too!

Here is a video from the Humane Society! On the bright side, a lot of animals probably didn't die in Sandy because the City repeated very loudly that emergency centers were pet-friendly, and because a lot of people were prepared. So now we are ready for the next hurricane, which will be in approximately seven months, because, "climate change." This time, take your iguanas with you.

5 Comments / Post A Comment

laurel (#4,035)

Sealed bags of kibble last a long time in the freezer.

Stow a spare leash and collar in your car or emergency kit, in case you have the opportunity to rescue someone else's dog.

laurel (#4,035)

Oh hey, I've been wondering how that Brooklyn animal rescue profiled here recently fared during Sandy. I can't remember what it was called but I remember lots of semi-feral pitbulls and some tortoises walking around on the floor of the shelter?

KenWheaton (#401)

1. Did you not learn this during the 2003 blackout? Or did you live in a fancy neighborhood at the time that lost power for only 12 hours? I'm not telling you where I live, but I keep TENS OF DOLLARS in cash in the apartment at all times.

2. While this is solid advice, those of us who live on the first floor would ask that you pay attention while filling up your tub and not, hypothetically speaking, go outside to gossip with another neighbor about the approaching storm, thus letting your tub overflow and leak into the apartment below. (Also, you might want a plastic drain cover in case your mechanical drain doesn't stop all the way and your precious fluids slowly leak away.)

3. I have no smart-ass comment for this one. Sorry.

BadUncle (#153)

The tip I learned from Richard Kadrey: buy a diesel-powered car that can crash through barricades.

1) Photocopy of pet's medical record (or at least vaccinations) in a sealed ziplock bag taped securely to the carrier. Another ziplock of 24 hours of dry food as well.

2)Before the disaster: make a lot of self-adhesive mailing labels with 1)your home address, email and cell phone, plus same contact info of a kind friend who lives somewhere secure who can serve as a liason in case you're incommunicado or just fucking lost. Put said labels on everything: your phone, glasses case, wallet, etc. Believe it or not, stuff does come back, either through your info or your friends'.
I do the above when I travel back and forth from Spain to the US. When I pack, I put labels with my name, flight numbers, and phone and addresses in both countries(even if I'm visiting multiple destinations.) My bags have been temporarily lost due to re-routing because of storms, missed flights, etc. I've always gotten my bags back within 48 hours (and the guys who deliver them always point out that it's a good idea that only about 20% of people follow.) I also pack everything in my suitcase in large ziplock bags, each with one of those aforementioned mailing labels. You can't be too organized.

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