AKC Rhodesian Ridgebacks Ethically Bred and Raised in our Home. Therapy and Show Dogs raised with Children.

                 Disaster Planning , how to avoid the unthinkable

The story that follows is our account of dealing with a Disaster.  I hope it helps to clearly illustrate why we stress the need for being prepared.  On 8/29/2005 Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.  While everyone has heard the stories of the 9th ward and NOLA, few know how the cat 5 storm affected ALL of us on the Gulf.  As anyone familiar with us knows, We live in Alabama. About 5 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.  We chose to not evacuate for Katrina. The forecasters were adamant the storm would hit New Orleans, about 3 hours West of us. With our strongly built home we had handled many bad storms,  including a nearly direct hit from another Hurricane.  Aside from property damage and inconvience we had all been safe and sound. Bob was working out of state and although he kept pressing us to be ready as he would drive down to evacuate all of us in our Motorhome,  my two Daughters, Son In Law and I felt we could easily handle everything.  We were far more concerned about him being able to find working gas stations and clear roads so we assured Bob we would ride it out.   We are just to the east of the eye in the photo below.


 48 hours before landfall we were overflowing with dogs from the neighbors and local vets along with our children's 6 cats, our 5 Ridgebacks,  our 5 grandchildren from infant Alexandra to 6 year old Tristan. Our pantry was stocked to a level we felt would allow us to ride out the inconvience of the storm.  Many of our neighbors fled... and despite the offers to help with pets the ones leaving at the last minute were turning them loose, believing they somehow would stand a better chance on their own. It was a very, very long night.  However as expected we came through with minimal damages.  Feeling confident we could ride out the inconvienence. Bob was calling frequently and proud of our ability to  work together and handle the challenges thrown our way. Always repeating his offer to come get us. We were thankful dear friends David and Danuta Boggs, ( owners of Zeus and Orion)  came and got one daughter, Bonita and the the 3 youngest children when it became apparent the iffy and often non existant power was dragging on ...and on.... and on...  no air conditioning, limited use of the kitchen, Ice was a fond memory for the most part, showers and baths not possible since we are on a well and we had to conserve the little energy we would get. Yet we all managed to keep a good humor. After all each day we were all sure would be the last of the problems. Then the cell phone rang and RR Rescue explained they had been told of a pair of Rhodesians in Gulf Port Mississippi.  The area we knew from word of mouth reports was in bad shape.  The shelter was begging for pure breed clubs or rescues to come in and help reduce the burden they were under.  It had been 18 days since landfall.....


Gulfport, Ms on 9/17/05  We live about 90 Minutes away,  when RR Rescue called me to let me know there were 2 RRs in the shelter. And that They were to be euthanized if we could not pull them. To make matters worse the Female was heavily pregnant. The Shelter Workers  had named her,  Priscilla so of course The Male was nicknamed Elvis.... As far as any one knew they had never met before being dumped as the owners evacuated the apporaching storm.

 The shelter was over flowing with animals in need.  The Ridgebacks were put in the same kennel, it had an opening in the wall , there as a doggie door in good times it was now a entry for the winds , rains and debris from the hurricane.  At the worst of the storm the workers reported seeing Elvis use his body to block the opening , to shelter Priscilla from the battering elements.  She lay nearby, doing her best to stall the whelp of her litter.  Below is a snap of the shelter on the "good" side of the storm.

Bob was still out of state with our RV working. He continued to call and monitor the news.  I assured him we were all fine. There was no reason to put him into the traffic that was so  insane. After getting the call from Rescue I debated briefly, knowing Bob would be furious for my taking the chances I was going to, but had HE been home there was zero doubt Bob would have been the first in the car to go get the Rhodies.  The sense of shock driving through the torn up streets was over whelming.  Gulf Port had be growing into a really nice little  casino town.  Lots of artists and boutiques the economy had been booming for them.  New construction had been underway everywhere.  Yet when I drove into town my thoughts abandoned the worry about possibly getting a flat and not having the road service to help. To wondering if I had enough gas to get back??!!Our kennel donated as many supplies as we could. My little wagon was stuffed to the roof with bleach, clean water, baby wipes, towels , balnkets, batteries , dog food , cat food, kitty litter and my youngest daughter , Crystal had stayed up the entire night before catching the power as it would show up to bake cookies and make up sandwitches. The shelter was packed to the gills with owner surrendered dogs and strays. As I drove up the driveway the heat was oppressive. The kennels, desppite the overload of dogs were strangly quiet.  The shelter workers and volunteers were all filthy. They were also exhausted.  I got out flashing the biggest smile I could and the looks on their faces reflected the fear I had brought them more animals in need.  The could not see the supplies through my darkly tinted windows.  I explained I was there to pick up and they hugged me. And when I explained who they cluster together , taking an overdue break to tell me about the dogs and how they had handled the storm. I felt horrible that  I was not able to take more than the Rhodesians , and the sight of the dogs and cats left behind haunts me to this day.  

They accepted the supplies I had brought over,  and a couple of the volunteers did not know which was more touching the homemade cookies or the baby wipes! They had tears in their eyes as they unloaded my vehicle.  Upon helping me to load the two Ridgebacks they wished ME luck, ( it was doubtful she would make it home before whelping)  Thanked me and then went back to work knowing that a signifincant number of the dogs there when I was would have to be put down for lack of space, food, water and health care.  Upon arriving home I took the dogs into our vet who decided then and there  that he would find the energy to add Gulf Port to his overwhelming schedule along with NOLA and several other small towns. He had been ignoring the fact his boat was gone, his home damaged and someone else's boat was now on the roof of his two story boat shed and lift.  Had the owners of the animals that were roaming the roads,  starving and often injured thought ahead they would have understood there was no "Better chance" to be had for the pets turned out to survive Katrina on their own.  EVERY disaster can be made more bearable  if folks planned ahead.  There is just NO excuse to claim you do not know what you need or should have to make sure everyone in your home and family, including your animals makes it.  You don't have to be rich or a Boy Scout to be prepared.

Before Disaster Strikes
Keep your pet properly fitted with a collar and current ID and rabies tag at all times. Local phone lines are often out of service during a disaster, so consider adding a tag with an out-of-area phone number. Tag all carriers and cages, too.
Purchase a leash and a portable pet carrier for each pet. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around comfortably.
In case you and your pet are separated during a disaster, make sure you have proof of ownership, such as a health certificate and photos of your pet.
List friends and relatives who could care for your pet for an extended period of time if you lose your home.
Create a list of boarding facilities within a 100-mile radius of your home. Identify nearby hotels that accept pets.
Ask your local animal shelter if they have an evacuation plan for animals, and if they would be able to care for your specific type of pet (
guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, etc.) during an emergency.
Keep your pet's vaccinations up-to-date and a copy of their health certificate on hand in case you have to board your pet or leave the state.
Create a list of neighbors or organizations within a 100-mile radius of your home that would be willing to board your livestock if you need to evacuate. Make sure you have access to horse and livestock trailers to transport your animals.
Have an evacuation plan in place involving family members and neighbors to
help animals in barns and outlying buildings.
Have a supply of feed at a separate location that could be dropped by air if the animals become stranded.
Make up a kit with leads, halters,
equine and bovine first aid kits, and quieting hoods for easy transport.
Threat of a Disaster
Purchase a week's worth of emergency supplies – food, bottled water, cat litter,
bedding materials, or medication your pet takes.
Difficult or dangerous animals, such as snakes or reptiles, should be kept in special cages to reduce the possibility of them getting loose. Keep a hot water bottle or some type of non-electrical heating element ready to keep reptiles warm.
If you are not asked to evacuate, survey your home for the best location to place your pets during an emergency. Keep them away from windows. Basements are often not good locations in areas where flooding can occur.
If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. If the area is unsafe for you to remain, then it is unsafe for your pet as well.
After a Disaster
If you are looking for your animal after a disaster, contact the local shelter or AH to see what emergency procedures are in effect.
If your pet was left behind, let your local shelter or AH know so that rescue arrangements can be made. Be prepared to provide a photo ID of the pet, so that animal rescuers can be on the lookout for him.
Offer to help others if you can. If your home is not affected by the disaster, and you have the room, you could offer to help the local shelter by fostering a few animals in your home until they can be reunited with their owners.

This is pretty much a standard emergency planning sheet for folks living on the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately no one knew the author so I am unable to credit them for their work and words. Yet it is important enough to make sure it was included in our puppy packets and on our website.


Amazing Company  helps you prepare to feed your family when Danger hits!

Emergency Food Prep Analyzer

What a tremendous tool this is! Our family has 10 people. In a Hurricane we can be without power for weeks! Ivan had us down for over 2 weeks, Katrina was only slightly less and the landfall was over 2 hours away from us to the west! People would have thought we were "safe" but in reality we were lucky the National Guard came in distributing MREs!!  Some days no matter how early you got in line they ran out. So we decided that would never happen again!  According to the analyzer our family of 10 needs over 18,000 calories a Day to get by They base this off of age and sex of each member of our home! It is easy to use, you enter the information and it does the work! Pretty cool!  You then have a chance to order bulk foods in special containers that will allow you to feed your family well at an incredibly reasonable rate! You can purchase things a few at a time building up your emergency kit until you can rest easy knowing your family will not go without. The guess work is gone. My adult kids each guesstimated what they thought we would need but never got close.  Even worse when using the MREs  provided by the National Guard we found the family ended up stressing badly. I wanted them used with great caution and limits since as I mentioned there were many days when they ran out before our turn came or they gave much less than we needed.  Under the kind of stress we were dealing with and with the very heavy labor of moving downed trees and cleaning up the items thrown into your yard and house by the Hurricane force winds it was not un common for adults to want an extra meal. I was angry because I needed the amounts on hand to last, they were angry because there hadn't been enough calories to keep everyone feeling well and able to function at their best. Using the Analyzer you have all of this calculated for you eliminating the mistakes of thinking that you have nailed down the totals.  You can buy bulk items to use in meal prep or buy actual meals , add water and there you have a real meal that even the children will eat!  We roll into Hurricane season prepped for our Pack, but somehow being ready for the 10 2~legged pack members is much harder to plan for! I can not recommend this website and application enough ! Until you have lived through weeks with out power you will never really appreciate the incredible products and ease with which to make and order them!

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