One thing I learned after 2018 Hurricane Florence is that we don’t always know what we are going to do until the last minute. We were glued to weather reports that changed overnight. At bedtime, the path of the storm was heading one way and by breakfast the next morning the path had shifted to another. My friends and I didn’t know if we should be hunkering down or packing to leave. Hurricane Florence was baffling and unpredictable until she was on top of us. And then she hit us so hard that many are still dealing with the aftermath.
Looking back, I was about as ready as I could be. For my pets, Ginger, Davy, and Smokey, I prepared an emergency kit, packed water, food, can opener, cat carrier and dog crates, litter box and litter, puppy pads, plastic bags, pick up bags, medicine, medical records, leash, collar, harness, pet photo, ID tags. For myself, I packed clothes, food, cell phone, charger, and my laptop. For my house, I had put away yard art, bird feeders, outdoor tables and chairs, and had a pear tree cut down that wasn’t doing so well.
Go or No Go?
My car was gassed, serviced, and ready to go. I had checked off the items on my disaster preparedness list. Short of boarding up my windows, I basically did all the things that were in my control. Even so, I was anxious until an unexpected invitation came from a good friend in a safe area to ride out the storm at her house. Once I backed my car out of the driveway with a destination and my precious cargo, I felt like everything would work out. Ginger, Davy, Smokey and I were on our way to Wake Forest.
I followed the storm’s impact from the news on TV and kept an eye on my business from my laptop. Crockett’s Critter Care was essentially closed for about two weeks. I was in regular contact with any clients scheduled during this time and, I am happy to say, all their pets were safe. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the other people who called me days before the hurricane started desperately looking for pet care while they left town. I truly hope they were able to take their pets with them.
You can’t just rely on Plan A.
Hurricane Florence has reminded us all to be aware of the perils of a disaster and to plan well for the safety of our family and our pets. I also learned that one can’t just rely on Plan A. Florence showed us that we might have to put Plan B or Plan C into action. From one moment to the next flights were canceled, traffic bottlenecked or roads were impassable, and hotel rooms were scarce for a hundred miles around New Bern. Disasters come with so many unknowns and the more prepared and organized we are, the better we can cope with them.
I was relieved that my pets were used to being crated, handled the drive well, have good house manners, and figured out that they had to be on their best behavior. Ginger and Davy were quiet, walked nicely side by side around their new neighborhood and got along well with my friend’s puppy. Smokey was content to explore, enjoyed meeting new people, and gladly settled into her new surroundings. The Feliway pheromone spray that I applied to her bedding helped to alleviate some of her stress.
I don’t know how calm I would have been had I stayed behind and faced the storm on my own. I waited about ten days until the power was restored and the flood waters receded before returning home. When I asked my Facebook friends what they would do differently should our area be threatened again, I was impressed with their responses. The changes they would make were mostly minor. Some vowed to set aside more water for themselves and each of their pets, others said they will start to stock piling things earlier and one, in particular, is going to add another generator to help save the Koi in her outdoor pond in the event of a long power outage.
Now that the 2019 season has begun, I hope it is mild and uneventful. No matter what happens I know that family, pets, and friends are at the top of the list. Being organized and having a plan will help to cope with any storm. Take care of the things that matter most and stay safe.