Working with the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Appearance Program and being a pet parent to three dogs, animals are often on my mind. The horses in the Stagecoach Program usually just work weekends and of course, my dogs only work, well, that would actually be never, unless you count occasionally barking at the squirrel in our backyard.
In looking through our vast collections on the ’06 earthquake, I was surprised and horrified to see one statistic that stood out for me: Over 15,000 horses were estimated to have died in the catastrophe. In a time when horse power drove the economic strength of San Francisco, that was a huge impact on the city and its ability to respond to the emergency and rebuild later.
I wanted to investigate how animals fared back then, and my friend Casey found an enlightening reference :
It was the dogs, wild with fear, that gave me first the measure of our calamity… then came the dogs, couriers of the cataclysm—they had come far, for they ran slowly. Their jaws were dripping. They moaned and whined. All of them panted steadily up the steep hill… We were shaken but safe; below us were nameless horrors, the dogs knew, and knowing, ran to the high places.
My friend’s wise terrier, remote and safe from the shock or fire, began at once on the first day of the tragedy to forage and to conceal. She is still burying supplies in a back yard planted thick with her instinctive provision against the famine, that mankind, proceeding objectively, has averted.
San Francisco Chronicle
May 6, 1906
This was NOT a reference to inspire confidence. I began to recall some of the images from New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina . One image I will not soon forget was of a man, in water waist high, floating along a Tupperware container which held a small white dog who looked out over the lip.
All these images and references made me think of how I should prepare for my animals in case disaster strikes. If you have pets or animals for which you are responsible, check out the American Red Cross or The Humane Society . It’s a great time to put together a plan.