I was sitting in a shelter yesterday with my therapy dog, Marshall, visiting with evacuees from the Caldor Fire, and I thought about all the disasters the world is experiencing. I thought I could share my journey from feeling hopelessness to hopefulness.
It all started during Hurricane Harvey. I spent way too much time watching the news, staying connected with my friends and rescue groups on Facebook. I realized I needed to do something about the hopelessness I was feeling, seeing dogs standing in chest deep water and people begging for help. All I thought I could do was stand and watch while others took action.
I awoke the next day and thought to myself, “I can help.” One Texas rescue group needed supplies, so I contacted my friends through Facebook and rallied my local community. I spent the next 2 days collecting enough pet food and supplies to fill a U-Haul, grabbed my dog and a friend, and drove 2,000 miles to Houston. I know that’s a little crazy, right? How much could that really help?
As I found out later, it helped, not only my feelings of hopelessness, but I was also able to rescue 4 dogs and bring them back home with me. These dogs had been surrendered by their families when they lost their homes and were scheduled to be euthanized. Taking them with me opened spaces for 4 more dogs to be rescued. The supplies that we took down helped feed the shelter pets for a few more days; the 17 crates we took gave spots for 17 more pets that had been found; and the bowls that we took helped feed and water the pets. You can see where I am going with this. Sometimes it’s not the big things you see immediately, but how far the little bits can go that can make the biggest impact.
September is National Preparedness Month. No matter where you live, you need to have an emergency plan and go-bag ready for you, your family, and your pets. This is a CALL TO ACTION to change that hopelessness to hopefulness. If you are prepared, it’s one less thing about which you need to worry. If disaster strikes, you are ready to bug-out.
If you are feeling that sense of hopelessness, here are some things I find helpful:
- Volunteer – Helping at a Red Cross shelter, Humane Society, food bank, or local charity of your choice. I have a friend that just walks the dogs at the shelter and it makes her feel not only hopeful but useful.
- Donate – Time, money, pet food, or supplies.
- Take more walks, have more cuddle time. Taking a training class with your dog will help you bond and ease anxiety. Your pet doesn’t have to be a certified Therapy Pet to give you comfort.
- Adopt or Foster a pet, freeing up space to save another one.
- Most of all BE PREPARED!
It’s up to you to create your hopefulness. You can’t rely on anyone to take action for you. If you need help with your pet’s emergency planning check out our website. We have everything from a FREE Pet Emergency Planning e-Book to premium go-bags that will keep your pet safe should you need to bug-out. We have also launched a custom pack page, where you can customize a pack for your pack.
We hope our journey helps inspire you to create your journey to hopefulness.
Team Pet Evac Pak