If you're reading this, that means that December 21st, 2012 has come and gone and we are all still here. Which is good. But I would like to chat a bit about actual emergency contingency plans and your pets.
Most human evacuation sites will not take pets, although I'm hopeful that will not always be the case (props to NJ with the recent Sandy landing, where many shelters were announced as pet-friendly). So in the case of evacuation it is important to have some idea of what you might do with your pets. I don't have all the answers for this, as every situation is different, but I encourage you to have a sketched out plan in mind. Animal shelters have been overrun after each natural disaster, either by pets who were lost or abandoned, and then flooded with calls looking for those lost pets as well. While there are sometimes happy endings to these sad stories, a plan to keep your pets with you or in a situation where they can be returned to you safely is a better bet.
Not all emergencies are to the extreme of Katrina or Sandy. What about in case of fire? Do you have a sticker on your window letting fire fighters know that they should be looking for your pets? You can purchase these stickers from online venues such as Amazon.com, and some rescue organizations and pet stores will have them available for free.
Many people live alone with their pets, and need to consider what will happen with them if they were to become injured or unable to care for them. I realize that this is a bit depressing, but talking to friends and family about who would be able to help in these situations ahead of time can alleviate a lot of stress and confusion. I find that clients who have willingly accepted and prepared for bringing a new pet into their homes are much happier than those who have 'inherited' a pet that they didn't want. Along those same preventative, yet somewhat morbid, lines, specific requests or directions regarding pets should be included in a Last Will and Testament as well.
Contingency plans are important, for yourselves as well as your pets. But since we've made it past the Mayans' prediction, let's take a minute to squeeze our fuzzy friends. And tomorrow, we plan.