Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | School Notes | Contact Us | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS

You can learn a lot from a dummy

March 20, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

Last evening as I splashed through slush to reach the front door, I was greeted on the other side by four, big, brown eyeballs, dancing above two wet noses enthusiastically painting an abstract of doggy snot on my clean window. It was a sight for sore eyes.

I turned the door handle but it didn't budge. I was locked out, my precious babies inside, staring out at me. Helpless. Them and me. Security screen doors can't be jimmied. Trust me. Or just ask locksmith Dave at Frederick's.

For the next thirty minutes I gave the neighbors quite the slapstick sideshow as I ran back and forth in the pouring rain seeking shelter (while trying to call anyone who might have a copy of my back door key), a phone book (to call the locksmith), a chair (to check for open windows), a screwdriver (to try to pry open a window with my now frozen hands). My 10-year-old neighbor, John, enthusiastically did offer to break any window of my choosing.

This entire time, all I could see were those four innocent eyes wondering why I would not open the door … to free them to chase invisible rabbits… to feed them their anticipated dinner. My mind raced. I am usually insanely over-prepared for any circumstance involving “my girls”. However, a locked door had somehow escaped my How To Deal With Any Dog Emergency list. My girls were inside, unable to fend for themselves.

How could I not have anticipated this? How could I allow this to happen? What if there had been a fire? What if something happened when I wasn't home? What if I was in an accident and couldn't get home? How would any know to rescue my two precious girls? Who would care for them until I was located?

OUTCOME: I did eventually find an unlocked window and was able to shimmy through. The four spare back door keys that have been in my junk drawer for two years are now distributed to friends, family and neighbors. The emergency "Resue My Pets" placards I specially ordered for my front window last year are now in place.

Our pets depend on us to protect them from harm. You don't have to be a boy scout. I'm far from it, but I do urge you to fore-go a similarly exasperating experience and take a few minutes to prepare for the unexpected. You can learn a lot from a dummy. The Red Cross and Humane Society of the U.S. have great information and checklists to help you get started:

HSUS Disaster Preparedness For Pets

Red Cross Pet Emergencies

I am looking for: