Tag Archives: pets

  • Is your Pet Safe?

    Is your Pet Safe?

    I must be on a happy endings kick, ‘cause here’s another one that had me crying great big, sloppy, happy tears. When Jen Leary suffered an injury that prevented her from doing her job as a firefighter in south Philadelphia, she made a minor change to her career path. Instead of rescuing humans, now she rescues animals. (You can watch the video that made me tear up here.)

    Her organization, Red Paw, does for pets what the Red Cross does for people affected by disasters. It rescues pets from emergency sites; offers food, shelter, and medical care; and works with volunteers to provide foster care and adoption services.

    And while it’s strictly local at this point, the idea is beginning to catch on. In fact, according to a write-up in Philly.com, the organization has more than 17,000 followers on social media (check out Red Paw’s Facebook and Twitter pages), and the city’s Office of Emergency Management actually enlists Red Paw’s help in its emergency response efforts.

    According to Leary, Red Paw is the only organization of its kind in the country. And while Red Paw is certainly the most thorough service provider for animals, if you don’t live in the Philadelphia area, there are other organizations you could contact for help with animals in an emergency situation. Notably, PetSmart Charities has an emergency relief arm, the AKC’s Pet Disaster Relief collects resources and works with local emergency management centers, and the American Humane Association’s “Red Star” mobile animal relief service has helped on disaster sites across the US.

    In addition to accessing large-scale rescue organizations, there are steps you can take on your own to prep and protect your pets in the event of an emergency. Check out the posts and resources we’ve collected below.


    Don’t leave Fido and Fluffy out of your plans when preparing for an emergency—every member of your household deserves to stay safe!


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: pet, pet preparedness, pets

  • Our Best Friends

    This February we’re highlighting all relationships, including the friendship you share with your pets. In the past we’ve discussed how you can help your pet during an emergency. (See links below.) Today we’re taking a new look at the topic in a guest blog post from Nancy Orlen Weber, R.N.



    Years ago I had the great pleasure of speaking with a woman who survived breast cancer.  She not only survived, she thrived. Susan attributes her peaceful state and the ability to thrive in a scary situation to a bear. That’s right. A bear.  Susan’s large, grassy yard was surrounded by woods. This female bear took to spending time on Susan’s property and over months they became acquainted. One day while Susan was on the porch, and the bear about 20 feet away from her on the lawn, a large male bear appeared out of the forested area. The female bear turned to Susan and they both got up and growled at the same time! The male bear took off running. Susan never laughed so much in her life. The female bear later gave birth, introduced her babies to Susan, and as the story goes lived happily after that as a family. 

    Now we may not all love bears, but we do love cats, dogs, horses, birds, fish, ferrets, gerbils, and more. What is the connection? What is the great gift these animals offer us? 

    We forget that these companions are kindred souls clothed in fur, feathers, scales and more. Similarities abound between humans and all other species. Most are not loners, though some are. The majority of companion animals desire love, affection, and interaction with others. They too will have “pets”. I worked with a racehorse that had been passed around from one owner to another because of poor performance. I introduced the horse to a goat and he nuzzled it right away. The goat ended up sleeping in the stall, walking and playing with the horse outside; they became best friends. Within the first day the horse’s performance dramatically improved on workouts and continued to improve weekly.

    We’ve all read the stories about dogs that never bark suddenly yelping to save the lives of those they care about. We’ve heard how cats that would normally run away from fire instead climb on the bed and yowl until the folks awaken, only running away after they’re assured that the humans understand the danger. 

    Surviving any tough times in life depends on a variety of factors. The gifts pets offer us to improve our quality of life are numerous; here are three:

    The power of love. Caring about someone, like a companion animal, helps humans “stay in the game”. Caring for others, including animals, can help bring a person out of dark times with the simple light of love. 

    Studies show that petting any companion animal may lower abnormally high blood pressure and slow the pulse and heartbeat when too rapid. (It does not seem to affect normal blood pressure or heartbeat.) 

    Many companion animals will nurse us through difficult times by offering comfort. Even the tiniest companion animal can be strong for someone else’s benefit.  A two pound dog resting peacefully in the arms of a very needy, ill person, looking up at them as if no one else matters—how powerful is that? 

    A companion animal that is bonded to a child or an adult has been known to risk its life to save theirs. How important to our survival is that?! 

    Companion animals help kids learn responsibility. Having children learn the responsibility of feeding, walking, and grooming a pet can bring out a previously hidden strength in children. Knowing they are capable gives children a sense of accomplishment and self-respect and that can open doors for them in times of need.



    Animals don’t discount their instincts. This “knowing” helps keep them safe. A companion animal may be able to warn us of oncoming danger. Here are two accounts people have shared with me of how pets helped save their owners’ lives.

    I met Vinnie, a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, several years ago. He told me that he owes his life to two stray dogs. The dogs adopted Vinnie and he adopted them. Vinnie brought the dogs home, fed them, pet them, and in general hung out with them.  He felt a bit less terrified with these friends at his side. One day Vinnie was attacked and left for dead. The two dogs not only stayed by his side, they brought him food, slept on either side of him, and when he would pass out, they would lick his face and nudge him to wake up. With tears in his eyes, Vinnie said that these two dogs not only kept him alive, but they kept him safe and wanting to live.

    The second story was told to me while I was in the green room at an NBC studio waiting to go on a show.  A man sat with a beautiful Rotweiler and told me his story. 

    As a fireman, this man one day saved the life of another fireman. This friend gifted him with a female Rotweiler as a thank you. He already had a male Rotweiler. On his days off he would take the dogs hiking in the California hills. One day, half-way up the mountain the female sat and refused to go further. Thinking she had a problem, the man turned around and headed back to the car and drove home. Upon entering the house he had a coronary and collapsed. The female got the cordless phone and brought it to his face. He was able to dial 911—the EMTs came. The dogs kept him awake by licking his face and pushing his body. The dogs, wanting to protect him, refused to leave his side. They wouldn’t let the paramedics take him until he gave them the command to let these people near him. They saved his life. 

    Taking care of a companion animal can have great benefits.  Animals support our needs far more than we ever imagine.  Animals may need rescuing from abuse or other situations, but many times they rescue us.  Our best friends’ souls are clothed in a variety of beautiful outer garments, different from ours, yet their hearts are filled with love, compassion, and kindness.


    By Nancy Orlen Weber, R.N. 

    If you’d like to read more about Nancy’s work, visit her website www.animalscent.net. You’ll find more stories of healing, animal news, information on holistic pet care, as well as literature on her work. 

    To read more on how you can prepare for your pet click the links below:  

    Pet Preparedness Decal, Kits, and Tips 

    Emergency Plan for Pets 

    Emergency Preparedness Tip for Pet Food

    From Dawn: Pet Preparedness


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: friendship, relationships, animals, friends, kits, preparedness, pets

  • From Dawn: Pet Preparedness

    Pet Preparedness

    Most of us with pets consider them to be a part of our family. So it only makes sense to have plans to get them to safety and provide for their needs in an emergency.


    Food and Water

    At home I store extra water and food for my pets along with any special items they might need. Dry pet food can be stored in the bags for about 1 year and canned food will store even longer. I rotate my pets’ food regularly just to keep it fresh. I like to store about a 3 month supply of pet food. I just buy a little extra each time and it builds up quickly. Don’t forget to include their medications in your storage plans.


    Emergency Kits

    In addition to storing food and water, it is a good idea to make an emergency kit for your pet in case you need to evacuate them with your family. I include:

    • Shot records in a zip top bag
    • An extra collar
    • An extra leash
    • A blanket
    • A toy
    • Treats
    • Kitty litter for cats


    Storing and Carrying the Kits

    My dog (she’s big) has a saddle-bag-style kit that she can wear. She can actually carry her own food, water, collapsible bowls, her meds, treats, a toy and an extra collar! But your plan may be different—especially for cats or small dogs.

    Our cats each have a carrier and we keep their emergency kits packed inside. In an emergency we can take the bag out, put the cat inside, and we are ready to go. Be sure to include your pets each time you practice your family’s evacuation plan—it will help reduce stress on your pets in an emergency. We love our pets and these simple preparations bring us great peace of mind.

    Now our biggest challenge is actually catching the cat!


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency kit, preparedness, pets

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