Hurricane Henri - What pet sitters should do right now.
Weather emergency is imminent in southern New England
Southern New England's Connecticut and Rhode Island coastlines are expecting a Tropical Storm/Category 1 hurricane this weekend. Today is "the day" to put final preparations in place.
Pet sitters who are scheduled to care for pets this weekend should do the following TODAY, August 21, 2021, because, by tomorrow morning, it will be too late.
Review your pet sitting roster:
How many houses do you have to travel to this weekend?
Are any of these homes susceptible to flooding?
Are any of these homes susceptible to falling tree damage?
Do any of the pets you are caring for need to be evacuated now, before the storm hits, and while travel is still safe? Can they shelter in place without difficulty?
I just heard that there are some streets in Groton where a voluntary evacuation is in place due to their proximity to the water and flooding issues. Be ALERT to these types of news reports and act accordingly.
Communicate with the clients that are away (if you can). Remind them that you will care for their pets regardless and put your emergency plan that you've previously discussed with them in action as it relates to their pets and their property.
Right now they are predicting power outages for several days. Hopefully, the news is wrong but plan for it anyway. This means to make sure your flashlights are ready to go so you can navigate through clients' homes safely. By this point, you should already know what clients have generators so that is an extra measure of safety for you.
If clients did not put away things in their yards that could fly away, do the best you can to get these items indoors - in a garage or porch perhaps. Yes, it's extra work, but this is what professional pet sitters do - they go the extra mile for their clients.
Take photos of what you do for documentation purposes. (Then take photos after the storm as well).
Make sure your car has all its emergency supplies in place.
Be prepared not to rely on technology as power may be down. Print up any information you need for these specific clients today and put them in your "go bag".
Double-check that clients have enough pet food to last several days longer should they have trouble returning home. If they don't - go buy some - save the receipts so clients can reimburse you when they return.
If pets are not going to be evacuated, as close to the storm as possible, place pets in a safe room within the home. Ex: Choose the safest room (and largest if possible - and not a basement -whether finished or not - due to flooding concerns) and place food, water, litter box, toys in the room. Birdcages should not be placed in front of windows and I'd recommend closing curtains, but leaving lights on. Put a cover halfway over birdcages so the bird will feel a little safer. If the weather is not super treacherous you can adjust your pet visit times to accommodate dog piddle breaks. If not, try and leave the dog in a room without wood or carpet floors and leave newspapers out so they have a place to go and plan on getting back to them ASAP. Keeping dogs in a room will be more difficult because they will need to go out and piddle and if they get anxious being only in one room they may destroy things. This is when it is helpful to really know the dog. If you think having them in one room will be worse for them, then let them stay as normal with full reign of the house. If your house is safer, and you only have a few dogs to care for, I'd personally bring them to my place- so consider your place as a safe haven.
I would also recommend leaving a battery radio on in the home with soothing classical music played at a low volume, leaving a few lights on, and closing curtains.
If you have to evacuate a pet to your house - bring as much as their personal gear as possible - food bowls, beds, toys, leashes/collars, medications, food and treats.
Remain calm because pets pick up anxiety from humans.
Make sure your car is gassed up.
Have your extra cell phone cable handy to charge your phone in your car if house power is out.
Right now I think the biggest concern is flooding and power outages. The wind doesn't seem that crazy. My house survived Storm Sandy a few years back with sustained 85 mph winds, so I think most structures should be okay, but things can fly around yards and into windows and weak trees can fall, so still operate as if the winds will be very dangerous.
The Governor of CT has issued a state of emergency already so check websites now to see what that means for your pet sitting rounds.
Stay current with weather forecasts and make changes to your plans accordingly.
Finally, remember - you are a PROFESSIONAL pet sitter. You are prepared. You care. You communicate with clients. YOU'VE GOT THIS!
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to like it and share it - especially this one because of its important nature.