If a sudden disaster were to strike, do you have a plan to get your pets out? Will you think to be aware of where they are? Your birds? Your fish? Your Lizard? How about your cat under the bed? Your small dog under the couch?
You can get stickers to put on your door to fill out with the number and kind of pets you have so rescue crews will know how many animals to look for. Ask your SPCA for them.
When Slave Lake resident Sara Toner fled her home Sunday night(May 20th) she had only enough time to grab two things: her partner Darren and their one-year old daughter Olivia.
“We were running. There was fire in the backyard, and the truck wouldn’t start,” described Toner with wide, tear-filled eyes. “We didn’t have time to even think about my cat.”
Toner was one of the first Slave Lake residents to be reunited with her pet, a calico cat named Buttons, at the makeshift animal-refugee camp outside the Edmonton Expo Centre Wednesday.
“She’s a little burned and singed, so we’re going to take her to the vet,” she said. “We’ve got two other cats out there somewhere, so we have hope now that someone will find them.”
The first batch of animals rescued from the fire-ravaged town, about 40 cats, dogs, birds and even a bearded dragon, were shaken and tired but relatively unscathed, said Edmonton Humane Society spokesperson Shawna Randolph.
The first wave of reunions began early Wednesday morning and continued throughout the day.
“This has been such a rewarding, joyful day. It’s fantastic to see these families, who have lost everything, be reunited with their pets,” said Randolph.
Like Toner, Slave Lake resident Sweetgrass Hoof, 19, was forced to flee her home without her cat, Max.
She spent the next two nights sleeping fitfully, desperately wishing she had left water or food for the animal.
“We didn’t have enough time to pack, we didn’t have any time to put out food and water for him, it was horrible,” said Hoof through a flood of tears.
Soon the Slave Lake evacuee was grinning from ear to ear, as rescue workers handed her Max, uninjured and relatively calm inside his kennel.
“I’m so, so glad they saved him, I can’t thank them enough,” she said.
In the wake of the wildfires that devastated the small town, the Edmonton Humane Society’s animal rescue team has rounded up more than 100 animals, 40 of those found wandering through the charred streets or trapped inside their owner’s homes.
According to officials, it’s very common for pet owners to be blind-sided by a disaster. But Randolph stresses the importance of a pet-emergency plan.
“People need to be more prepared. If they have an emergency kit, and an extra carrier, they can just put the animal in, grab it and go,” she said.
Thanks to heroic efforts by officials, many of the rescued animals have already been identified.
So far no animal fatalities have been reported and Toner’s cat Buttons was the only animal injured, with just minor burns.
Thanks to Dr. Andrew Jones DVM for bringing this story to our attention.