CARE for Paws Initiative: Helping pet owners in times of disaster

Story by Red Cross volunteer Ann Voigt

Tucked just outside of Green Bay, WI, in the quiet countryside, sits Country Care Animal Complex. Inside the walls of the complex, in addition to their everyday animal care, the staff serves another important purpose.  The CARE for Paws (Countrycare Animal Rescue Efforts) initiative is part of the Countrycare Animal Complex and partners with the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of The American Red Cross, using their resources to help animals in need during disastrous times.

PAWS Kit Photo 1

When I spoke with Joanne Clark, Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Countrycare, to learn more about the CARE for Paws and the kits they make for animals in need, I could tell from just the phone conversation that this was an initiative which was very close to their organization’s heart. The kits are serve a dual purpose – to help victims who are pet owners with initial needs [for their pet(s)] after a disaster strikes and they then serve as carriers for the pets.  Included in the kits are collars, leashes, food, blankets, bowls, kitty litter, toys, and care information.

PAWS Kit Photo 2

The most important part of the kits, however, is the love that each volunteer puts into them. The organization holds bi-yearly gatherings to fill the hundreds of kits and has been doing so for about five years.  It is an effort put forth simply for the love of the animals and the need to ensure the safety and well-being of pets whose owners have fallen on hard times due to tragedy.

 

PAWS Kit Photo 3

The organization’s quest to help pets doesn’t stop with the aftermath of an event – they also provide needs in anticipation of unforeseen events. With a requested donation of $15.00, their Emergency Evacuation Bags include a pet blanket, collapsible food/water bowl, slip leash, waterproof envelope for medical records, booklet of preparedness tips, window sticker to alert first responders that pets are in the home as well as a pet first aid bag with instructional card. These items are all contained in a drawstring bag for easy access.

For more information on this heroic animal organization, please visit their website or Facebook page.

http://countrycareac.com/

https://www.facebook.com/careforpawscac/

https://www.facebook.com/CountrycareAnimalComplex/

Story by Red Cross volunteer Ann Voigt

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American Red Cross Issues New Pet First Aid App

Pets are an important part of many families, and a new Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

The 99 cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies. Pet owners learn how to recognize health problems and when to contact their veterinarian. The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies. Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls and what to do for cold- and heat-related emergencies.

Other features in the app allow pet owners to:

•Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.

•Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.

•Use “click-to-call” to contact their veterinarian.

•Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the “animal hospital locator.”

•Locate pet-friendly hotels.

•Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.

History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans. Pet owners may also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course so they can practice the skills and receive feedback. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register. The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. The Pet First Aid App and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapp.

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Red Cross – Preparedness Month – Pet Safety

by guest blogger:  Bandit the Prepared Pug

Bandit the Prepared Pug – Knows a Safe Place to Take Pets

IMAG0255-1-1Did you know if there was a disaster, I would not be allowed in a disaster shelter, even with this cute mug? If my mom and dad needed to find a place for us to stay in case of a disaster, they might not be able to find a hotel or motel that allows me. Luckily, my mom did her homework and found a listing of “pet friendly” hotels and motels after confirming if they had any restrictions on the number of “petite” pugs.

My mom also made a list of people that could take me in case something happens in Green Bay and the surrounding area. It includes friends, family and boarding facilities that can shelter me if an emergency happens.

She loves me so much, she laminated it.

FYI: Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters and in hotels and motels.

Bandit the Prepared Pug – Assembles a Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • I am ready for any emergency!
  • I have my own bag with my name on it that has everything in my very own preparedness kit:
  • A copy of my veterinarian and HomeAgain (microchip) information
  • An extra leash and color
  • A small supply of food and treats
  • A current photo of me in case she has to ask if anyone has seen a super cute pug
  • My favorite treats and “Come here” saying, in case I decide to run on someone (FYI, I love to brush my teeth)

The one thing she needs to add is a first aid kit for me in case I would get injured, but she should probably take First Aid for Pets course offered through the Red Cross first.

IMG_20130911_175838Bandit the Prepared Pug – Helps Emergency Workers Help Pets

Sometimes I sleep in my kennel in the laundry away from my mom and dad. If a disaster would happen and my mom wasn’t able to get to me, people need to know where I am!

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (commonly known as the ASPCA) offers my mom and all other pet owners a free window decal alerting rescue personnel where a pet might be in a house. She visited https://www.aspca.org/form/free-pet-safety-pack to sign up for her free decal.

She’s always looking out for me. Best mom ever.

What is Your Disaster Plan for Your Pets?

By: PaKou Lee, Red Cross PR/Social Media Volunteer

I live with two very sassy, but loving Chihuahuas, Junie and Julie, both belonging to my niece, Nevaeh. I always thought that when a disaster strikes whether it is a tornado or a fire, everyone would gather, grab the dogs and find a safe place to be. As I researched for Preparedness Month, I realized there is much more to planning a pet disaster safety than just grabbing and keeping them safe.

It is not that I think Junie and Julie are less important; they are part of the family too. Many people including myself are just not sure where to start for pet emergencies. I have gathered some important safety tips so we can all be prepared- learn how to prepare for a pet emergency, know what should be included in the portable kit, and how to help your pets recover after a traumatic event.

Prepare:

  • Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency.
  • Most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
  • Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that all dogs and cats are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.

Your Kit Should Include:

  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, litter pans, pet beds and toys.
  • Medications, copies of medical records, your veterinarian’s name and number stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior problems.

Pet Recovery:

  • Watch your animals closely and keep them under your direct control as fences and gates may have been damaged.
  • Pets may become disoriented, particularly if the disaster has affected scent markers that normally allow them to find their home.
  • Be aware of hazards at nose and paw or hoof level, particularly debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances that might not seem to be dangerous to humans.
  • Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.

    Our Chihuahuas, Julie (top) and Junie (bottom). Aren't they cute?

    Our Chihuahuas, Julie (top) and Junie (bottom).
    Aren’t they cute?

Red Cross also offers Pet First Aid class. You will learn how to administer medication to managing cardiac emergencies and more! If you have animals such as livestock, reptiles, birds, and other small animals, visit Humane Society of the United States or Ready.gov for more information on how to keep your animals safe.