Learn your pet’s ‘safe area’

I recently received a report from the University of Missouri about a dog named “Sugar,” a Cocker Spaniel who was badly injured in the tornado that ravaged Joplin, Mo. When her owners grabbed her and ran for the safety of their basement shelter, “Sugar, sensing the increased fear of her owners, became panicky and bolted back upstairs to her own ‘safe area,” a spot under one of the beds.’ With the tornado almost atop their house, the owners could not leave the shelter to retrieve her.

Sugar survived the tornado, although she was badly injured and had lost the use of her hind legs. Veterinarians at the University of Missouri performed emergency surgery to correct the injury to her spine. After many days of physical rehabilitation and therapy, Sugar is recovering with her owners.

In addition to this encouraging story of recovery, what caught my interest was that Sugar’s owners knew exactly where she preferred to hide when something scary was happening. This doesn’t seem like much, but knowing your pet’s favorite hiding places can be a lifesaving advantage in an emergency.

With Sugar, unfortunately, this was not the case as she was found several blocks away, and there was nothing more her owners could do without putting themselves in mortal danger (something else that is important to keep in mind in an emergency).

But in a less extreme emergency, when there is time to gather the family and pets, or when your pet is having a health emergency, you’ll be able to find your pet faster, or direct emergency personnel to where your pet normally hides, if you know where that hiding place is.