Monday, September 12, 2016

Pet Sitter Emergency Procedures

Last Friday, the owners of the Green Acres boarding facility in Gilbert, AZ, were sentenced for the deaths of the 23 dogs in their care. Over the weekend there was news of 14 dogs dying from heat exhaustion in a boarding facility in Canada. Gross negligence was involved in both of these tragedies.

It made me think, again, about the trust involved in pet care. A solemn trust that the care taker will not only provide the best care but will also have emergency protocols in place. 

This is a matter we take very seriously, particularly since the Monument Fire of 2011 when 10,000 people were evacuated (myself included) and the entire Hereford area was closed to all traffic with the National Guard, the Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies preventing access.

Interestingly, not one client has ever asked us about our emergency procedures for pet care. What would we do in the event of a forest fire? A massive power outage? A water contamination event? We have handled all of these situations, and more.

During the fire we had to evacuate client pets, first in the Palominas area then north over the course of days as the fire moved and threatened Three Canyons, Ramsey Canyon and the Moson Road area. It was an incredible experience for the entire community.

We have had several water events; from contaminated wells servicing specific neighborhoods to a big freeze that froze pipes (which then leaked when it warmed up). Our clients don't know (but should!) that we monitor many social media outlets to learn of these events to cross reference with the pets in the affected areas who are under our care. We stand ready to haul fresh water and immediately remove contaminated water from pet access.

Power outages can cause problems, too. Air conditioning will go out which will cause homes to become hot and any length of time without power can be detrimental to aquariums and pond fish. We are going to know where power is out so we can provide whatever relief is possible to those pets.

Throughout all of these scenarios, we will be in constant contact with our clients and/or their emergency contacts. 

Our advice to pet parents is to ask questions. Know what your boarding facility or pet sitter will do in the event of an emergency. Does the boarding facility have sensors in place to notify staff of emergency conditions? Does the pet sitter have a plan to care for your pet and possibly evacuate them? You should not be afraid to ask "What If" questions and if you're not happy with the answers you will know that you should seek other care arrangements.

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