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Think About Disaster Preparedness for Pets!

Janice always comes to the park with her dog John. On arriving there one day, however, she notices Yumiko, her walking companion, placing her dog Hana into a pet carrier.

Think About Disaster Preparedness for Pets!

Janice

So what's this? Are you putting Hana into a pet carrier and heading off to the vet?

Yumiko

Hello there. At the moment I'm actually giving Hana some "accompanied evacuation" training.

Janice

Accompanied evacuation?

Yumiko

When a disaster occurs, "accompanied evacuation" means to evacuate along with your pets. Speaking about the Great East Japan Earthquake, quite a bit of effort and money was expended on trying to find and give sanctuary to all the pets that became separated from their owners. Unfortunately, there were also a great many pets that ended up being victims of the disaster. Taking what was learned through such experiences, the mainstream of thought is now that, during times of emergency, pets should accompany their owners in evacuating.

Janice

In that pets are felt to represent important family members, being able to take them to evacuation centers offers owners peace-of-mind.

Yumiko

I agree with you. However, in that evacuation centers represent places where a whole range of different people gather, showing consideration for the people around you cannot be forgotten. Indeed, in the wake of previous disasters there were even cases of trouble occurring when dogs were let loose to roam around freely at evacuation centers.

Janice

Yes, irrespective of just how cute an owner feels their own pet is, under such circumstances I can imagine the surrounding people being very much inconvenienced if such animals are not kept under control. You also have to realize that there are some people who dislike animals and others who suffer from allergies.

Yumiko

That is true. Thus, under normal conditions it is also very important to place a pet into a pet carrier so that they can become both accustomed to it and feel at ease when they are inside.

Janice

In the case of dogs, it is also important that they are trained so that they neither bark needlessly nor are they fearful in the presence of other people or animals.

Yumiko

Yes, such training can also help reduce the stress that the pets feel themselves. Well, that's the end of training! Now I have to get Hana out of the pet carrier.

Janice and Yumiko then proceed to walk their dogs on leads through the park.

Janice

In preparing for a disaster, as pet owners, what other preparations should we make?

Yumiko

On a daily basis, you should keep an eye on the health of your pets. You also need to remember to immunize them and treat them to keep them free of fleas. Furthermore, as a precaution against pets going missing, they should have a collar and be micro-chipped to allow for their owner to be identified.

Janice

In that I also believe that it would be quite a while before relief supplies for pets were delivered, it is necessary to prepare a supply of regular pet food, some water and any medications the pets might be taking. Added to that, you should also recheck the safety of where pets normally stay throughout the day.

Yumiko

It is also important to create good relationships with your neighbors and other pet owners in the vicinity. Doing so allows people to mutually assist one another if and when anything occurs.

Janice

You mean like you and me?

Yumiko

Exactly. Furthermore, in that living in an evacuation center might last a long time, it would be a good idea to search out somebody who could possibly look after your pets in their home in the meantime.

Janice

I see, I feel that I have learned a fair bit. In actual fact, my family home back in New Zealand also have a dog. I think I will quickly get onto my parents and also tell them about the importance of disaster preparedness for pets. Indeed, New Zealand is like Japan in that it is also prone to earthquakes.

Yumiko

To protect the pets we love, we have to prepare in advance!

■Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of the Environment
Be Prepared! Because you want to be with your pet always -Disaster measures for pets
http://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/2_data/pamph/h2703.html