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JoAnna Lou
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Weathering Hurricane Irene
Emergency plans with the dogs in mind
It's important to include pets in your emergency plan.

This past weekend, everyone on the East Coast was hurrying to prepare for Hurricane Irene. I wasn't in an evacuation zone, but I put together a “go bag” for my pets and put crates by the door, just in case we had to leave home. Fortunately, we didn't end up needing any of the emergency supplies. By the time Irene reached New York, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and the damage was much less than expected.

I was impressed by the local efforts to accommodate pets in emergency planning. New York City evacuation centers welcomed pets, and taxis and subways were required to transport pets of all sizes to help people get to safety with their furry loved ones. The ASPCA worked closely with the New York City Office of Emergency Management to assist with the city’s disaster relief efforts. The Office of Emergency Management even had a dedicated Animal Planning Task Force. I'm glad that the government is learning from past relief efforts, such as Hurricane Katrina.

Natural disasters are stressful, but I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that I didn't have to worry about where I could go with my pets in the event of an emergency.

How did you prepare for Hurricane Irene? Did you take advantage of a pet friendly evaculation center?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by bradleyolin/flickr.

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