National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Losing a pet is the saddest part of pet ownership. Mourning the loss of a pet and dealing with grief is indeed a process, sometimes a very painful one. Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day is a way to cherish and celebrate the memory of the beloved pets we’ve lost and to continue healing.

Queen Boudicca Mata Hari Sophia (circa May 2000-May 25, 2018). For 18 years, she was my cat-dog, googly girl, reading buddy, and dedicated office supurrviser. I miss my darling Queen B.

Princess Nala Artemis Fae (circa April 2001-January 21, 2017). She was my bottle baby and windfall kitten. In the last few years of her life, Nala ultimately chose Aaron as her Chosen person (in her mind he became HER boyfriend) and, accordingly (in her eyes), I was demoted to pet status .

This is Pelota. My parents opened their home to this lovely Ragamuffin rescue in 2010. Her original name was Trixie but we quickly renamed her Pelota (Spanish for “ball”). She was incredibly docile and a thoroughly sweet, affectionate cat. Her soft belly was never a trap! Sadly, in 2012 she passed away at the age of 10 from a rare condition, a spinal cord embolism.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day:

  1. Take time to enjoy memories of your late pet. Look through pictures and videos.
  2. Talk about your pets, both current and past. Remember the little things that made you smile. Record them in a journal or on social media if you wish.
  3. Thinking about getting a new pet after losing one? Consider a visit to your local animal shelter or animal rescue group if you feel ready. Volunteering or fostering may help you adjust.
  4. Use #RainbowBridgeRemembranceDay to share on social media.

How do you remember your pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge? Share your stories in the comments.

Be Kind to Animals Week

The first full week of May is Be Kind to Animals Week. Did you know that Be Kind to Animals Week is the oldest commemorative week in US history and the nation’s longest-running human education campaign? Neat, isn’t it?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Be Kind to Animals Week is an annual celebration that spotlights the crucial importance of kindness and compassion to all animals, pets and non-pets alike.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Here are a few ways you can participate in this altruistic week year-round:

  1. Volunteer and/or donate to an animal shelter or rescue group. Walk dogs. Socialize cats. Hold rabbits. Bottle-feed kittens or puppies and give the shelter employees a well-deserved break.
  2. Foster a shelter animal. You can also pet-sit for a friend so said pet does not have to be boarded.
  3. Use cruelty-free products.
  4. Help out feral cats. You can do this by providing food, water, and even a shelter. You can also donate to a catch-spay/neuter-release program in your area.
  5. Protect the environment. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Don’t litter because (a) it’s gross and (b) animals can get sick, injured, or die from eating or getting tangled in plastic or other materials. Recycle and dispose of toxins safely. Use safe dish detergents and paper instead of Styrofoam. Be mindful that a lot of our waste ends up in the sea.
  6. Run a 5K or participate in a fundraiser that benefits animals. Ask your animal shelter or humane society for ways you get can get involved.
  7. Leave wild animals in their natural homes. While it’s tempting to bring home a snail, lizard, snake, or baby bird for the sake of scientific curiosity, instead practice kindness and naturalistic observation (a la Sir David Attenborough).
  8. Plant a garden. More specifically, plant a butterfly garden or other vegetation that attracts bees, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. Bonus: pretty colors.

“No act of kindness, not matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~Aesop

Photo courtesy of Pexels