My apologies for the delay in getting this newsletter out. October was an eventful month in many ways. The devastating firestorm that swept through Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties impacted all of us and made us all pause to consider the importance of pets in our lives.
Dr. Rose and I were deployed by the California Veterinary Medical Response Corp (CAVMRC) to assist in veterinary care for animals affected by the fires in Sonoma County. Previous disasters, such as Katrina, where people perished rather than leave their pets behind, have fortunately changed a number of state laws that now require consideration of pets in emergency response plans. Dr. Rose and I first staged out of the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, where we helped out treating some of the shelter dogs and cats and a few of the pet fire victims. Many kitties come through fires with burnt ear tips, whiskers, fur and foot pads. It tugged at the heartstrings to see these sweet kitties all bandaged up and still seeking love and attention from their caretakers. It was heartbreaking to hear the families coming through to look at these kitties and hear them say, “No, that’s not her.”
We were also called to assist at the with veterinary care at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds where people were allowed to co-shelter with their pets. The first day we were there, many people seemed shell shocked, but the presence of their pets gave them something to cling to. People who got out of their homes with only the clothes on their backs and their pets were grateful for what little we could do for them to help them care for their pets, their lifeline.
We had a small fire behind the hospital on the first day of the firestorm. It was a good reminder for us to review our hospital disaster plan and for us all to make sure our pets are included in our own personal disaster plans. For help in making a disaster plan for your pets, visit the following links:
As things settle down after this turbulent month and we head into November, I feel immense gratitude for so many things. The fires came way too close and we were spared from what our neighbors had to endure. I have a fabulous staff and associate veterinarians which allowed me to deploy and do what I could do. I got to interact with so many wonderful people affected by the fires and hear their stories. I got to see people at their best, responding to the needs of the community.
With Thanks and Gratitude,
Martha M. Davis, DVM