Friday, October 28, 2011

Hurricanes & Natural Disasters

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1through November 30. Tornadoes, severe rainstorms, hail, wind, fires, and floods can happen anytime of year and for our northern friends, winter and snow storms are just around the corner.

Every puppy raiser should have a plan for their guide dog in training should severe weather or a natural disaster forces them to evacuate their homes or stay in a damaged home with no power.

The Southeastern Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser Manual discusses these plans on page 103.

If your plan has not been completed and filed with your Area Coordinator, the time to do this is now. What should you do?

     1. Find out if your house is in an evacuation zone. If so, what are your plans to keep you, your family, and your guide dog in training safe?
     2. If your plans are to evacuate to an emergency shelter, check with your county administrative offices to see if this shelter is pet friendly. A guide dog in training may not be allowed access, so you would have to make other plans for the puppy.
     3. Is there another puppy raiser in your area, but not in an evacuation zone who could puppy sit during an emergency?
     4. If your plans would be to evacuate to a hotel, obtain in writing a letter from the manager, before the emergency, that states your guide dog in training is permitted to stay.
     5. If you plan to evacuate to a friend's house or to another city or state, make sure your AC has your contact information and knows where you are and that you & the puppy are safe.
     6. If you are unable to figure out a plan to use during an emergency, contact your AC and ask for assistance. Sometimes a raiser in another area will offer to take puppies in an emergency situation.

Have an emergency bag made up for your guide dog in training that can be found at a moment's notice. Make sure you include;
     1. Vaccination and health records from your veterinarian.
     2. Your Area Coordinator's contact information and Southeastern Guide Dogs contact information. The main number to the Palmetto campus is: 941-729-5665.
     3. A copy of your dog's ID card from Southeastern Guide Dogs.
     4. Dog bowl.
     5. Bottled water
     6. Pre-measured dog food in Ziploc bags. Have separate bags for breakfast and dinner. Have at least a three day supply.
     7. Tie-down with a nylon collar.
     8. Busy bags, paper towels, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, flashlight, battery operated weather radio, and a map and/or GPS.
     9. Approved dog toys.
    10. Always take a crate with you. It may be required at an evacuation center. It will also be a place your dog can feel safe in at an unfamiliar location.
    11. Attach the Southeastern ID tag, which is supplied by the school, to your dog's collar. Also attach an ID tag with your contact information and the dog's county issued rabies vaccination tag.

Hurricanes and natural disasters can be frightening experiences for both people and their pets. Preparing supplies and having a plan in writing can help reduce some of the stress when dealing with these situations.

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