One of my most favorite things is to learn something new every day. I love that. The other night was a great learning experience and of course it included my dogs.
About 5:00 PM Wednesday evening, the TV channels started to alert the viewing area to storms a brewin’. The map was lit up like fireworks and looked quite ominous. With friends being involved in massive floods and other friends losing family members to earthquakes, I must admit, I’m a little on guard. So on a Wednesday night with tornadoes and severe storms waning on the horizon, I took action.
It was our first drill and I learned a lot. As the skies darkened, I decided to move to a lower part of the house. We don’t have a basement, so the first thing to decide on is the safest place in the house for a storm. The only place in our house that does not have any windows is an interior closet on the lowest floor. The good news is, it’s a large closet, the bad news is, it’s full, like most respectable closets. Very calmly I started to empty it. My velcro dog, Kaiya, was on to me and plastered to my side. She always knows when “somethins’ up”. The thunder was rumbling in the distance and Lhotse’ had taken her storm position on the “big green chair.” She watched, curled up in a ball, frozen in her chair. Star slept on the floor, unaffected. I went upstairs, gathered some prized possessions, put them in a little sack. I then realized my computer hasn’t been backed-up for two weeks and could use a refresher, before I loose it in a tornado. I brought down the lap-top and plugged in the hard drive and got that started. Now back to the closet, boy, do we have a lot of boots. mental note, give some away.
When I had a nice little space cleared, I put down one of the dog beds. As soon as I threw it in, Kaiya followed. She stepped in the closet, put one foot in the bed and turned around. I reached in my pocket and threw a piece of cheese into the bed. She jumped in and grabbed the cheese and we began. Tornado Closet Training. She came out of the closet, went back in to her bed and I threw treats. Within minutes, she had a new favorite place in the house. Lhotse’ watched from her spot, but was too scared to take any of the cheese I put under her nose. One of the saddest things to watch is a beagle with her mouth laying on a piece of cheese she’s too scared to eat.
As Kaiya and I got acquainted with our new space, I gathered items. There was already a five gallon bottle of water, so I brought a few nagalene bottles for pouring. This whole plan was for if the house falls down in the wind, and the dogs and I remain trapped in the closet for some time. The closet being the only thing standing of course. So I gathered, a bag of chips for me and some very healthy protein type bars. An unopened package of treats for the dogs. I wanted to have some leashes but I didn’t want to get them all riled up about going for a walk, so I went to my inventory closet upstairs and got three brand new long lines and started a bag for dog equipment. Three 20′ lines, and a water bowl. I finished up with a flashlight and extra blankets and cushions for protection.
This whole time I was very calm. The thunder was getting louder and the TV screen was bright with colors of reds, and oranges and yellows. Warnings and watches, funnel clouds being spotted. We had missed so many storms lately by either being just on the south or just to the north. This one looked right on.
I started to be a little louder with Kaiya’s praise for going into the “Storm Center” and Star got wind of a “training opportunity” and joined us by the closet. It was good idea we had this rehearsal. Star has space issues and she was not going in that closet as long as Kaiya was in there first. After a few Abbott and Costello routines, we finally figured out a system for the two dogs to get in the “Storm Center”.
It all worked out very well, but it would have been a disaster if we didn’t have this rehearsal time. I needed to know that Star has to go in first, before Kaiya and then she’ll be OK. I also needed to know that after Kaiya and Star were safe inside there was no room for anyone else. There was a shelf in the back so I made another bed for Lhotse’ and knew she would love it up there.
This whole thing was a great learning experience.
- Find your “Storm Center” and keep some emergency supplies there.
- Have a list for “things to bring with you during emergencies”
- Have a dog list of important items to gather.
- Always have a full charge on your cell phone.
- Always have a full charge on your lap-top
- Back-up your computer regularly BEFORE the storm.
- Train your dogs to do things, you may never need to use. If you have a dark, scary basement where you don’t hang out with the dogs, start hanging out. Make sure you do some rehearsal runs in case you have to use it for emergencies. Make going into the dark scary basement a very fun new game. Play the new “run into the closet and close the door” game. I know we will.
- If you don’t have a plan, make one now before you really need it.
We had a little rehearsal with Lhotse’ with the sun shinning today, and she went on her shelf. She didn’t look too happy up there but when we came back in after a romp in the yard, I found her waiting at the closet door.
The tornado didn’t come, but I’m glad we had the chance to rehearse. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known that once the dogs were safe there was no room for us. The humans, the breadwinners who are the very people that feed these dogs and keep them in toys, beds and luxury livin’. Time to go through the collection of boots. It could save our lives.