Many pet owners will often risk their lives rather than abandon their animal companions, but right decisions made early could help to keep everyone safe - whether they have two legs or four.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the images were hauntingly familiar. People trapped in their homes, being rescued by big trucks and small boats or wading through deep water to find safety. And in so many pictures, we saw pets – many being evacuated with their owners after their homes were flooded.
It looked like Hurricane Katrina all over again. But not everything was a replay of seven years. Some lessons were learned, such as having shelters that would accept pets.
Still, we saw many people who waited until too late to evacuate, putting themselves and their animals at risk and putting a strain on limited resources as first responders located and transported residents and their furry companions away from storm-ravaged areas.
Just two months ago, many animal organizations dispatched teams to the Gulf Coast area after Hurricane Isaac. Hurricane Sandy hit much closer to home.
The ASPCA has its headquarters in New York City. North Shore Animal League also operates in the New York metropolitan area. Washington, DC is the home of the Humane Society of the United States.
Even as Sandy approached the eastern seaboard, those groups and countless other smaller organizations stood ready to do whatever was needed to offer shelter, support and comfort to animals in need, and their distressed owners. The American Humane Association brought its huge 82-foot Red Star Rescue Rig to Pennsylvania to help four-legged storm victims there.
Not everyone can volunteer on the scene to help rescue animals stranded by the storm. But there are things you can do. One is to support one or more of th0se organizations that are on the front lines, rescuing and caring for the animals. Another is to monitor social media and be proactive in sharing valuable information.
For your own pet, the most critical thing you can do is make right choices when faced with the possibility of a disaster. Your best friend is counting on you to make timely decisions that will keep both of you safe and protected, when you’re speaking of pets.