Friday, April 6, 2012

The Lessons of the Pet Shop of Death

Are you ready for a natural disaster?  Or your death?
You've drawn up your will, made your wishes known to family.

But, have you thought about your pets?

They are part of your family.  They deserve and have earned your care even after your death.  Or after a natural disaster.

We in the Southern Tier of upstate NY learned this the hard way last September.

A local pet shop (I will not mention their name within this post, but it is part of a chain) flooded in our September 8, 2011 floods in Johnson City caused by Tropical Storm Lee.  The site had flooded at least once, before the shop opened.  The owners of the chain would have had access to this knowledge.

I will not get into the controversy over who was responsible - the village of Johnson City, management....but the sad and sorry fact was that some 100 animals died in the flooded store, scared and alone, because they were not evacuated.  Another 100 or so animals were saved and brought to a location about an hour away.

In all these months of me blogging about the flood recovery, I have never spoken until now about the Pet Shop of Death.  But I can tell you that in the days and weeks after the flood, so many people discussed, debated, cared about what had happened in that store on Harry L. Drive. (and, if you do want to know more, please feel free to click here.) In the swirl of people dealing with flooded basements and homes, not having clean water to drink or a place to wash their clothes, finding the roads they normally used closed and damaged, coping with their displacement or the displacement of their workplaces, and everything else that accompanies this type of disaster, people cared about those animals.

It hurt.  It still hurts.

Or, as tragically happened to a relative - she lived alone, and died instantly in a car accident.  She had two cats, both rescue cats.  She volunteered time in an animal shelter.  She had a will.  But she had not made a provision for her cats. This can happen, too.

So, I would like to ask each of my readers this question, because a weather disaster can happen anywhere, at any time.

-Have you thought about, if there is a disaster, who will care for your pets?  Your chosen people might not be able to when that day comes, but at least you have tried.

-Have you made it known, if you live alone and pass away suddenly, who will take in and care for your pets?  Not just hoped, but spoken to the person(s) and gotten their agreement?

If you haven't, please do so today.  Or, at the latest, tomorrow.  Your pets love you, look to you, depend on you.  Don't let them down.

I was petless during the flood, and am still petless.  But this may change in the future, and I will make these arrangements before ever being honored by the company of a pet, ever again. 



  1. You know here in the "hurricane" states we are encouraged to make evacuation plans that include our pets. For the most part I know what I would do with my guard dog and my house dogs. BUT.... I had not thought about planning ahead if I were to die just who and how would the dogs be cared for. Thank you for that.

  2. Carolina Heartstrings, I would not have thought of it either if my aunt hadn't died in that car crash. None of her children lived locally and they had to scramble, long distance,to find homes for the cats. Fortunately a neighbor stepped in temporarily but wasn't able to provide a permanent home. I'm glad, too, to know that hurricane preparedness does address pets.


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