By Becky Holland
When it rains in East Texas, it pours, and when it pours – streets and roads – in the rural and urban areas – get flooded or water collects enough to cause more than just a splash when a vehicle goes through a body of water on the water.
Law enforcement agencies encourage us to slow down or turn around when we see a body of water in the road. We are given all sorts of tips on how to drive in hard rain. Most advice is to not be out in it at all.
Dogs and cats and horses and pigs don’t have the luxury of we do to have alerts sent to them so they know when to get out of the weather and where.
They depend on us.
Toby doesn’t like rain – can’t stand it. He doesn’t mind standing on the patio watching it, but if he gets wet, he cowers. One time, he even started growling at the rain – reminds me of some humans I know.
When flooding occurs, I encourage all of you to be prepared in what to do with your animals. As soon as the word “heavy rain” or “Flash flood watch,” hits the newscast, your animals should be moved to dry locations.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, middle Georgia, where I was living at the time, got hit with a crazy flood. Roads were impassable. Houses were ruined. Stores were damaged. Cars lost. Lives lost – including the lives of several domesticated animals.
We are not going to point fingers and judge the owners for lack of action, but we are going to offer some suggestions found through intense research on scholarly veterinary and animal care websites, and through FEMA, on what to do when flooding occurs with your animals.
The Environmental Protection Agency released survey results that pointed out that fewer than one in 20 people have made advance preparations to minimize the potential damage and heartache caused by flooding.
I do want to say this, and I am not being cold-hearted, it is just the facts, don’t put yourself in danger or anyone else during times of flooding in rescue attempts for an animal. If the animal can be rescued without causing harm to anyone, especially yourself, I say go for it. Just be smart.
One way to avoid this type of problem though is as I said to be prepared. Make sure your cats and dogs are wearing proper identification at all times. Microchipping would be ideal – contact your local veterinarian or even the Humane Society to see if they offer this service. Make sure all food, and any medicines are well stocked. If you are going to be away from home when the bad weather hits- hopefully your dog or cat will be with a trusted family member or friend, and/or a boarder. Work out an escape plan if flooding occurs and you have to evacuate. Stay updated. Listen for warnings on local TV or radio.
Keep your animals inside during bad weather.
My mom is always prepared for a tornado. She has a bag and has flash lights, pillows, proper attire and even bottled water in a specific spot in their house. I used to laugh at her, but since Toby and I have been here, I have made sure my closet was empty enough for us to get in there. There is a flash light, batteries, portable charger, clothes, bottle water, a bag of dog food, extra leash, umbrella, medicine(extra), extra dog toys and a couple of books – Toby likes to read. His favorite book is Susan Wilson’s “The Dog Who Saved Me.” (No, just kidding.)
Oh and puppy pads. If you get stuck in your house and can’t get outside, puppy pads can be a life saver!
Keep wagging the tail.