Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pet Safety: Tornado Season Comes Early to the Ozarks

Tornado Image:
Night before last my sleep was disturbed by a strange voice.  I ignored it.  The third time was the charm and it penetrated my sleep when the voice mentioned my neighborhood and order:  "You should be headed to your shelter."

That opened my eyes!  I shook Gary to tell him what was happening and headed out to the family room.  Jeffie and Rudy were thrilled we were getting up so early.  It was a little after midnight and the local television stations had all switched to live coverage of the storm system bearing down on the Ozarks.  It came bearing gifts: tornadoes.

I ran back to our bedroom to grab clothes, shoes, and try to get Gary to wake up enough for the warning to register.  Then ran to the mudroom to grab the dog harnesses, leashes, and my new halogen lantern. Gary joined us in our shelter after he'd grabbed the radio and there we road out the storm together.

The whole time I was thinking about Joplin and Kari Wilkes.  When the EF 5 tornado hit and demolished Joplin, Missouri last year, Kari Wilkes was headed into her shelter when the storm literally pulled her dog, Hanah, out of her arms.  Kari and her family know Hanah survived the storm thanks to a couple of picture taken by someone afterwards.  That person was trying to seek help for the injured, distressed, white American Bulldog.  In fact, someone in a black SUV reportedly picked up Hanah to carry her to safety.  However, Hanah has not been seen since.
Kari Wilkes' White American Bulldog, Hanah, is still missing.

Kari Wilkes launched a massive effort to recover her dog,  Hanah, and you can read about it at Bring Hanah Home.

What does this have to do with us cowering in our tornado shelter the other night?  Well, in spite of both Gary and I having grown up in tornado country and feeling a sense of personal bravado about these storms, we now have a weather alert radio.  Set for our geographic area, it emits a long squawk and then gives the specific weather warning.  It repeats until you turn it off.

Our dogs are microchipped.  They now wear their collars with identification tags 24/7.  Their harnesses and leashes are handy to our storm shelter.  We've taken other steps to keep us all safe, too, using ASPCA Disaster Preparedness guidelines.

The Joplin tornado disaster forced us to pay attention.  Hundreds of people and pets were left homeless by the tornadoes that hit Joplin.  Many pets never again saw their people.

Cavalier though we were, we now are determined that all of us - people and pets - will ride out the storms together as safely as possible.

We were lucky this week.  No damage here at the For Love of a Dog homestead and we're all fine.  We're doing our best to keep it that way.  


  1. So glad you are all safe. I couldn't imagine that scenario and then losing my dog on top of it.

    Great information, Sampson and Delilah wear tags 24/7 (they have an indoor and an outdoor collar) just in case.

  2. Thank goodness you guys are safe! It's great that you have taken all the necessary precautions for you and your dogs. It must be pretty scary, we don't get too many tornado warnings here in Ontario, just a few a year and that's enough. The last time our town was hit was 1979 and it was devastating. What a sad story about Hanah. It must break their hearts knowing she is still alive but can't find her.

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Areas where tornadoes are unheard of or very rare don't usually have storm cellars.

    When the stray tornado strikes it is devastating to human and animal life as an inside closet or bathroom offer the only protection.

    When the family is off at work there is no one to help the home alone pet.

    That was a great article with great info.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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