Pet Survival Kit – When Disaster Strikes

We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness. - Petra Nemcova

People unload belongings and dogs to cross a bridge to evacuate from the rising water of Buffalo Bayou following Hurricane Harvey in a neighborhood west of Houston, TexasWe’ve seen the news coverage. The destruction. The tragedy.  Feeling powerless watching others struggle to survive a natural disaster.

If you’ve seen the chilling video of this dramatic rescue below, you understand. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s the most remarkable, nerve-wracking, heroic rescue I’ve ever seen.

The first one that truly devastated my soul was Hurricane Katrina.  Living in Ohio, I’m accustomed to Mother Nature throwing her little hissy fits.  And yes, we may shut down schools, and we may huddle in our houses for a while, but then we emerge like crocuses in the spring.  I’ve never worried if we were going to go hungry.  If we would freeze.  If we would die.  The footage of Katrina changed my understanding of what a true natural disaster was. How all encompassing it can be.  Life changing.  Life ending.

And unfortunately that wasn’t the last time we saw that type of footage. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma most recently.  The wildfires in California and Tennessee.  We have a greater understanding now of the effects of these disasters. Sometimes there’s only moments to evacuate, grabbing our loved ones. Our families. We prepare for evacuation as best we can in case of emergency, but what about our four-legged friend and furry friends?

How to prepare them?

Mike Payton of Pooching Around has created a wonderful info-graphic on the subject.  In Mike’s words, “It has been made to make owners aware of what they should have packed in a bag for their dogs just in case of an emergency situation such as a terror attack or natural disaster.”

Take a look at the list of items and let us know if you agree with whats in the list and if there’s anything else you would include.

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Dog Training
Cleveland, Ohio


3 Options for the Traveling Pet Parent

From time to time, Darwin Dogs loves the chance to post articles written by third parties.  One chance came a few weeks ago when Paige Johnson contacted us, asking about submitting an article for us.  As we have a big travel weekend coming up for Labor Day, here are some thoughts for those of us who prefer to travel with a companion.  Interested in submitting an article to be published?  Submit your ideas to

Boots and Bee Photography - by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – by Brittany Graham

Owning a pet has been shown to enrich lives, reducing the risk of disease and lengthening the lifespan of their owners. Having a loving animal to come home to can make a world of difference in your daily life. Unfortunately, our furry friends can make it difficult to travel. However, being a pet parent shouldn’t stop you from going on vacation. Here are a few options you have for making your vacation stress free for both you and your pet.

Freelance Pet Sitters

If you would rather your dog stay in the comfort of their own home, you might consider hiring a freelance pet sitter. is a great place for seeking an at-home sitter for your pet. The site can put you in touch with someone to provide your pet an overnight stay, either in your home or the sitter’s, daily check-ins, and even walking. Rates vary depending on the individual, and the site customizes the results based on the sitter’s proximity to your home.

Boarding Facilities

Pet boarding facilities have been spreading at a rapid pace as our lives become busier and busier. These facilities vary widely in their prices and practices and should be researched thoroughly before you entrust one with your pet.

Good boarding facilities will allow a walkthrough of the facilities. You should check for cleanliness and daily routines within the facility to ensure your pet will not be trapped in a small space for the duration of your trip. There should be playtime, interaction with the staff and other dogs, access to an outside play space. Reading the reviews of a boarding facility is also a great idea to ensure your pet will be well cared for.

Take Them with You

A dog with all its vaccines and a microchip can travel almost anywhere. Of course, this means you need to plan your trips far in advance but being able to take your dog with you makes it all worth it. If your pet is going to be around water, double check that any pool chemicals and other cleaning supplies are properly stored so that your curious pet can’t nose his way into trouble.

If your dog is too big to fly in the airplane cabin with you, permitting them to fly in the cargo hold is not an acceptable option. Pets die every year as a result of airline negligence. Though some flights boast pet-friendly options, this does not always guarantee your pet’s safety. For large dogs, it is safer to stick to locations within driving distance.

Though owning a pet can restrict your freedom to travel, there is always a way to make things work. Regardless of what you opt to do, it is always possible for both you and your pet to enjoy your vacation.

Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for

Image via Pixabay by rafibh