Thursday, 31 October 2013

Flood-Proof Friday - Pet Emergency Plan

Some of the biggest adventures (some would say dramas) we have had at our farm involve animals and flooding, so it was not surprising to see that the Get Ready Queensland site has a fact sheet dedicated to planning for your pets in an emergency. Last week I mentioned that my neighbours waited on their rooftop with their dogs in last years flood. The water was almost up to the eaves and when the helicopter hovered to airlift them, one of their dogs blew into the water. This is their flood story. Because the flood water rose so quickly and without warning, no amount of flood planning could have foreseen this circumstance.

We have also been caught out with various pets and animals over the years. The funniest adventure, and our favourite campfire story, happened during our first flood when we had no idea what to expect. Before the water reaches the house our bottom sheds flood. Just to the left of the Mulberry tree is where we had five turkeys that Grandad had kindly given to us when we moved in a few weeks beforehand.

This particular flood was pretty freaky because I was home with the three kids, and Paul was in hospital with a broken leg (now that's another story). When we realised the water was going to go past the shed we waded out into the flood water to rescue those damn turkeys. Now if you have ever had turkeys you would know they are not the friendliest of pets and the eight year old boys were a little freaked out by them. The hero of this story is Lauren, a very girly twelve year old who just marched straight in and wrapped her arms around each turkey and walked them up to dry land. By the time we got the last turkey out the water was above our waists and there were spiders and who knows what else swimming past us. It was a triumphant moment though - together we rescued all five of those turkeys, and the boys have never lived it down since.

Our little mate Poopsie came with us when we were evacuated from that flood by our neighbours, who luckily had a boat. We stayed with a wonderful family we had never met before for a few days while the water went down, and even though they did not have pets they welcomed Poopsie into their home too.

Needless to say, we have arrangements in place now to ensure our dogs (and us) get to safety, and we don't keep turkeys or chickens anymore. I am planning on having chickens again and will house them where it doesn't flood or move them before a big rain. I just remembered another flood where Paul put the chickens on the roof of the shed and they happily laid eggs for a couple of days before they were rescued. It was funny to watch them from the house with the eggs rolling down into the eaves. It's good to remember the fun times, because there are moments of light relief during a disaster.

So, you can see the need for keeping your pets in mind when planning for a disaster. If you saw this photo last week you would notice that we have also evacuated with our dog Chewy. This was last year, before we were airlifted from our neighbours property by helicopter.

We couldn't take Chewy on the helicopter so he stayed at our neighbours place where he was secured inside with their dogs and plenty of food and water. It was very unlikely their house would flood, which it didn't, so we were relieved to have him back.

Get Ready Queensland suggest that you should make the following preparations regarding your pets:

1. Secure animals inside before an event so they do not take flight and run away

2. Use a secure pet carrier or leash to transport animals to safety

3. Ensure all vaccinations remain current

4. It may be possible for your pet to be boarded in a safe environment away from the emergency zone

5. If your pet is fostered out ensure their medical, feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies go with them

6. Ensure all pets are properly identified

7. Have a current photograph to identify you as the legal owner (I am guessing in case you get separated?)

There is also a pet emergency plan sheet to fill in.

This is all common sense but worthwhile thinking about for any situation regarding your pets, not necessarily a natural disaster. I am going to print a plan for each of our dogs and keep it in my emergency kit. Next week I should receive my first weekly task from the Get Ready Queensland initiative which I will share with you.

Have you ever had an emergency situation with your pets or farm animals? Lauren is betting you have not had to rescue a turkey before...and I am hoping you never have to, they are crazy creatures!

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