Sniffin ‘Round Town -Hurricane Preparedness for Topsail Area Pets and People

By August 3, 2019 No Comments

In this Issue: Time is flying and the vacation season has us scurrying.  This issue is short and sweet. We’d be doing you wrong if we didn’t focus on Hurricane Preparedness this month, so here it is!


Before we launch into the fun topic of preparing for hurricane season, we’ve got a little reminder regarding the heat!

Ginger and Chase

Crouching in my garden to pull up some weeds, I felt the heat sizzling my palm as I rested it on the mulch. Later, barefoot in the dry grass of my backyard, I was surprised at how quickly the soles of my feet grew hot!

Dogs regulate their body heat through the pads of their paws. Keep in mind that longer walks can be dangerous for your pups, even on overcast days like my recent gardening day. In addition, dogs are closer to the ground and feel the heat rising from the earth much more than we do. Dogs won’t always tell you when to say when, so make the choice for them. Keep them off the beach and blacktop during the heat of the day, carry water on your walks, choose a fun car ride to a spot they might enjoy sniffing around at instead of a longer walk. And remember, fall is coming soon!
Thanks to Janet Juliano, Mother of Chase and Ginger, for suggesting this topic. Do you have something you think is important for us to share? Let us know!


Hurricane Preparedness


Linus loves beach life, but he and his family play it safe and hit the highway when strong winds blow our way!
Have you considered where you’ll go with your pets should an evacuation become necessary? Reach out right now and call your peeps to make sure your cats, dogs, birds, and hamsters will be welcome wherever you go. If you are considering a hotel stay, check out BringFido – booking through them ensures the hotel will guarantee your pet’s reservation. Have your pet’s emergency kit ready in advance. Don’t know what you should bring? Here’s a thorough article that will help you plan for evacuating or sheltering in place.

Additional tips from Surf Sitters:
1. This is a good time to make sure your pets are up to date on required vaccinations if boarding may be part of your emergency plan.
2. What if a minor storm created unexpected flooding? We recommend having a life jacket for each of your pets. We are so “prepared/paranoid” that we also have 2 inflatable kayaks ready to float our trio of beasts to safety! Would our plan work? Who knows? We feel better knowing we have them (we have human lifejackets, too…)!
3. Evacuations can be arduous. Plan extra time and leave as soon as you can to avoid major traffic delays. If possible take plenty of breaks with your furry friends to let them stretch their legs and de-stress.
4. Remember that travel is very hard on older pets. While we can’t assess whether sheltering in place is a better idea than evacuation, we can say that if your plans are to evacuate, choose the closest destination out of harm’s way. Take plenty of breaks to give your senior pet time to stretch and try to create a roomy, comfortable space in your vehicle.


Parker and Arthur

Surf Sitters Hurricane Plan for Pets in our Care
Parker and Arthur really enjoy Surf Sitter Tina’s company when their Dad Dave has to travel for work. Dave knows he can rest easy with Surf Sitters because we have worked with him to develop an emergency evacuation plan for his pups in case he’s gone when a hurricane blows our way. When we accept reservations during Hurricane Season (generally August-September), we ask you to fill out a document to ensure that your pets have safe places to stay in the event of catastrophic weather. This applies specifically to clients traveling beyond easy and quick return distance. You’ll need to ask a very good, reliable friend or relative to be your emergency contact. In the event of a necessary evacuation, this friend must be willing to take your pets into their home and/or evacuate with them. Choose a friend who you know will follow through on their commitment. During Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, we worked with our clients’ emergency contacts to successfully evacuate the pets in our care before evacuating ourselves. Your pets are family to us. We will not leave them without care, which is why planning is so essential! In the event that the best-made plans fail, we take your pets to a safe boarding facility in the town that we evacuate to. We know you don’t want the boarding option, so choose a friend who won’t tell us to let them hide under the bed and tough it out (yes…someone did that!!!!).


Cat Tales – Hurricane Preparedness
Chopper doesn’t want to ride out the storm by himself – he needs to take care of his Mom when they evacuate together! Many people believe that independent animals like cats will be okay staying at home through a storm as long as they are inside a house. While houses may be sturdy enough to survive the storm, there are many dangers cats, fish, birds, and other animals may face while their human guardians are gone:

  1. 1. Damage resulting in unsafe conditions within the home ( flooding, electrical fires, shattered windows, leaking, extreme heat, to name a few).
    2. Power outages can last for days and weeks. Extreme heat can build up within the home due to a lack of air conditioning. Animals may die of heatstroke or lack of temperature controlled habitats.
    3. Fallen trees and flooded roads around your area may prevent neighbors or friends from checking in on your pets after the hurricane is over.
    4. Getting back home to your cat may take a LONG time. Those of us who left during Florence remember the stress of planning a route home. It took us a week, and people in other areas 2 weeks or more to find safe travel routes back home.
    5. Non-storm related injuries or illnesses will not be detected if no one is home to discover them.

Cody Coconut

Fireworks Follow-Up

Am I the only one who thinks the neighborhood fireworks frenzy went on for a little too long this year? Is it my imagination or were they louder than ever? Given the reports I received from friends and our clients, I don’t think I’m over-reacting. On the night of the 4th, one special pup that we know died during a stress-related seizure.
Our own dogs were so traumatized by the noisy neighborhood fireworks that we made it up to them by taking them on a special car ride to Petsmart! Each of our 3 got to pick a toy. Here’s our boy Cody with his new snake. The ride was so peaceful and relaxing that I realized the car might just be the place for our noise-sensitive pups when exhaust fans and loud music just won’t cut the mustard. If the car is your go-to place for calming your pet, please let us know! Over the next year, I will be researching safe and quiet places for pets and people over the 4th of July and will share anything I find regarding retreat centers, state parks, sanctuaries, regulated and enforced quiet zones, rural areas that might be less noisy, and cities that enforce illegal fireworks regulations.
Here is what I do know based on a conversation with a local deputy sheriff: They will respond to calls to cut the noise out as available. I’m sure none of us want to stop our neighbors from enjoying themselves, but when it comes down to the safety of our loved ones, we do have the right to protect them. Any firework that leaves the ground is illegal in NC. If you are and your pets are growing weary of the endless booms and bangs or have health conditions that may be exacerbated by loud noises, a call to your local law enforcement might be helpful.

2019 Surf Sitters Pet Care Closures

We haven’t taken off our walking shoes since opening in February of 2015, so this year we decided to take a couple of breaks and give our staff some holiday time as well!
Surf Sitters Pet Care will be closed:
August 31-September 2 (Labor Day) – big family wedding – gotta go!
December 24-25 (Christmas) – my folks will be head over heels since we haven’t spent Christmas together since 2014! We’ll be available for pet sitting and dog walking the week between Christmas and New Years, as well as New Year’s Eve and Day!

Local Notes
Don’t rule out pet-friendly hurricane shelters when you need them. Our neighbor stayed in one through Florence, with his lovely dog Tia. He felt safe and comfortable, and Tia did well, too. You’ll need a crate for your pet, who will be housed in a separate area. Rabies vaccinations are required.

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Copyright © 2019 Surf Sitters Pet Care and Dog Walking LLC, All rights reserved.


Author shannonm

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