"Can't do much about the weather, but you can change how you to respond to it …"
While that may be familiar advice, it's still good advice, said Pat Payne, faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, who urges pet owners to include their pets in their personal emergency plan.
When gathering supplies for an emergency (or stocking the storm shelter), Payne suggests including a leash, non-perishable pet food, water, food and water dishes (or bowls) for pets, medications, a toy or familiar blanket, pet carrier or crate, medical/vaccination records and a photograph that can be used to identify a pet who may become separated from his or her family during an emergency.
Failure to plan may mean that a pet is left to fend for itself, more likely to become separated from its owners, and less likely to survive a severe storm, flood, excessive heat or other disaster, she said.
Payne, whose veterinary academic expertise focuses on diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, spends her working hours preparing future veterinarians. She also is part of the planning team for an upcoming conference, titled: "Natural Disasters: What About the Animals?"
The Sept. 24 conference will review the plight of residents, their pets, assistance dogs and other animals during Hurricane Katrina, and personal experiences during the tornado that struck Greensburg, prior to learning more about how to keep the family, its pets and other animals safe – and together -- when disaster strikes.
The Human-Animal Bond Conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Kansas State University Student Union (in Manhattan), with a break for lunch on your own; the conference is free, but preregistration is required to ensure adequate conference materials. Sessions will be simulcast at the K-State Olathe Campus, and available via webcast at http://ome.ksu.edu/webcast/human-animal-bond/.
The conference is recommended for pet owners, staff of pet-related organizations, emergency management professionals, educators, local government officials, all connected with veterinary medicine, students, 4-H and other youth development professionals working with youth and animals.
For registration or more information, go to www.vet.ksu.edu/CE/Conference.htm.