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Go or Stay with Dogs During a Hurricane?

Would I evacuate without my dog? No way!

Last Saturday, we took advantage of every break in the rain to walk our dogs, not knowing when they'd get outdoor exercise again once Hurricane Irene pounced on us.

The news reports were ominous. Earlier in the day, people were loading or unloading supplies from their cars, boarding up windows, piling up sandbags, and setting up new generators and sump pumps. Mr. Darcy and I stopped and chatted more than usual, because everyone wanted to know: Are you going or staying? 

By the end of the day, the streets were becoming eerily quiet. Darcy wasn't walking with his normal swagger or pulling me along (we get a lot of "Who's walking who?") to all his familiar sniffing spots. He stopped at the end of the block and refused to move. He surveyed the changed landscape — where were all the people, dogs and cars? — and he looked to me for answers. I tried explaining the situation, and finally he let me take him in the opposite direction, toward his dogsitter's house, where we found Irene (no relation to the hurricane) getting her two chocolate Labs ready for a walk. Strolling along the boulevard with his friends seemed to restore some sense of normalcy. It turns out that they were staying, as were Marie with Buddy and feisty Bella.

Darcy's best friends and daily playdate mates, Suzy and Abby, along with their human, Mike, would be staying, but Meg and Emma were heading out of town. Our street was emptying out but directly across the street, Charlie, Linda, Derek, and Bonnie, a sweet Spaniel, were staying to ride out the storm. So glad they did because when Sunday morning rolled around and the bay waters slowly rolled up the street and overtook the sidewalk, it was comforting to see friendly faces across the way.

Thank goodness the waters receded before drowning the cars in the driveways and entering our houses. We cheered and shared thumbs-up from our front doors. The power stayed on, so we were able to monitor Irene's progress and watch with sadness what was happening on the beach. Once the rains stopped, Bonnie and Darcy frolicked on the deck. They had both weathered the storm in relative calm. Darcy was a real trooper and had braved the elements to venture out his doggie door to "do his business.”

We took a walk to survey the neighborhood, me in knee-high rain boots and Darcy hopping puddles, downed trees and branches as if it were an agility course. Some streets were worse than others. Later, the winds really picked up, but Darcy just had to check on his girlfriends, so we made our way to Mike's where Darcy had a joyful reunion with Suzy and Abby. 

The cleanup is under way, and last evening the "Oreo Club" (Meg's name for our two black dogs and her white Retriever, often piled up sandwich-like) had its first post-Irene playdate in the muddy-ish yard. The puppies were ecstatic, and their humans celebrated with a Prosecco toast.

I hope everyone and their puppies, whether you went or stayed, is home safe and sound.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

toolittle September 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM
in my opinion, anyone who had to think about whether bringing their dog or cat with them if they left, shouldn't own a pet.
Meg Karthaus September 01, 2011 at 09:18 PM
I believe most owners would stay with their pet. I think if people like me, had family that would take in their pet, they were more likely to leave with them. If not, many owner stayed in town with their pets. Animals have a keen sense that something is happening and are most comforted when they are with their owner. Emma was a great house guest at Aunt Helen and Uncle Eddie's, but was glad to come home and see her friends in the "Oreo Club".
Judy Massey September 01, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Thanks for adding the Oreo Club photo, Meg. Agree with you Maryl--no question of leaving pet behind. My original headline (simply "Going or Staying", the question of the day) was changed a bit, so it's misleading and questions whether anyone would leave a family member behind. It never even occurred to me.
LI Resistance September 02, 2011 at 01:11 AM
I would not not leave my pet but I think is apersonal choice , let's not condem other people for t=doing what is best for their particular situation . Remember we are talking about animals not human beings.
toolittle September 02, 2011 at 03:03 PM
LI Resistance, You are entitled to your opinion, but I dont think I condemned anyone in my statement. I said simply that if anyone were to leave their pet behind I don't think they should have a pet. To me, leaving a dog or cat behind would be akin to leaving a child behind. Would if we couldnt get back to our houses for weeks ?? I don't see a difference between 'animals' and human beings in this situation, that's just me. If someone were to think that they are just animals and to leave them behind, personally, I dont think they should own a pet.
Gary September 03, 2011 at 01:20 AM
I agree
gg September 04, 2011 at 07:58 PM
I agree! I would never leave my dog...we drove the whole way to PA to stay with my sister and fellow animal lover because we would not leave a member of our family!
gg September 04, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Maryl didn't condemn anyone....she is stating fact...leaving an animal is like leaving your child....they are a member of your family...if you leave your pet, you don't deserve the unconditional love they gave you.
Clem September 04, 2011 at 08:44 PM
As a credit to Nassau County, their shelter at Mitchel Field was open to pet owners and their pets. Bide-a-Wee also sheltered owners and pets, though they had some restrictions that were hard to meet.
gg September 04, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Yes Clem, I agree with you.... I feel lucky to live in a place where animals were accepted at certain shelters....so why would anyone leave their family behind???????
Teri September 05, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I would never leave my German shepherds. I took off to pa. With my dogs . Found a wonderful confort inn who welcomed dogs. Left my husband. In long beach to fend for himself. ,!,
gg September 05, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Thank you Teri! We went to PA as well, because of our dog....but I would leave my husband to fend for himself too....as long as I had my Husky......
Teri September 06, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Love my dogs. They have been nothing but faithful and loving. More than I can say for. Hus
Yankee Man September 06, 2011 at 10:42 PM
If the choice was to leave without my pet or risk my kids lifes I would say bye dog..good luck ,,!!!! However I dont know why you cant bring the dog...you may need to eat him later if things really go bad !!!!
Cecelia Doule September 09, 2011 at 02:07 PM
I grabbed (not literally) my bird, Ellen, and off we went to the LIRR that Friday night. And on the platform I met another couple with their bird. So birds left as well. And the one stray cat that has been coming around for 15 years didn't have anyone to evacuate with, but he didn't seem to care and weathered the storm well. I would have taken him as well. Glad all humans and pets are safe.
George DeHaven September 15, 2011 at 06:08 PM
My lab is a Katrina rescue, and there was no way I was leaving him anywhere. Fortunately we were able to spend Saturday night with a relative AND with Jake. He rode out one hurricane on his own, there was no chance he was going to spend another alone.
Tideline September 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Clem is correct and the animal shelter was staffed by Veterinians and other animal professionals.

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