How This Veterinarian Prepared Her 18 Pets for Hurricane Isaac

Photo by Dr. Patty Khuly
Dr. Khuly's goats, Poppy and Miss Chivi, also figure into her emergency preparedness plans.

Last month, Hurricane Isaac didn’t end up doing as much damage here in South Florida as forecasters had initially predicted early in the storm watch cycle — when the dreaded “cone of probability” was trained on my backyard.

And seeing as I have 18 animals in my care, this occasioned serious preparations on my part.

Thankfully, Isaac deviated significantly to the south, sparing my critters and me a potentially scary experience.

In the end, we suffered tropical storm-force winds, two downed trees and no power for a day. Still, anyone with a menagerie of animals like mine has lots of work to do before, during and even after the mere possibility of any serious storm. After all, you never know how bad it will get . . . until it’s too late.

That’s why everyone should have a plan for emergencies, whether you're prepping for hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes or any other life-threatening situations.

As a native Miamian, I’ve been through the drill plenty of times, which is why I have a checklist taped to the back of my medicine cabinet door, so I never forget anything!

Here’s how this storm veteran veterinarian handles emergency preparedness:

Commit a Plan to Paper for You and Your Pets

Think out the possible scary scenarios and write them down before you’re faced with a threatening event or an evacuation notice. Know where you're going and always take your pets with you! There's never a good excuse to leave your pets home alone during an evacuation-worthy event. Let me repeat: If it's unsafe for you, it is considered animal cruelty to leave your animals behind!

Decide Whether to Stay or Go

Before I do anything else, I make a yea or nay decision as to whether I’ll evacuate with my pets or not. Everyone should have a metric that defines his or her decision-making on this issue — mine is anything over a category 3 hurricane. And if you live in an evacuation-order zone, you shouldn't stay. Period.

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