Monday, January 7, 2008

"In Case of Emergency..."

What would happen if you were unexpectedly delayed getting home from work? I mean, really delayed. Delayed like my client who recently went from work to his doctor for what he thought was a minor complaint and was whisked into surgery. He returned home seven days later.

He lives alone, other than his two dogs. Fortunately, his brother lives nearby and knew what to do for the dogs without instruction – which was a good thing, since my client was unable to speak until two days after his surgery.

I am ashamed to admit that, even though one of my own dogs needs medication several times a day and both dogs are on homemade food, until I saw my client’s situation unfold, I was unprepared for a sudden absence from home. Everything else is ready – spare sets of all the meds, extra food in the freezer, evacuation kits ready in case the nearby nuclear plant ever blows – but what if the dogs and I were apart?

Deeply chagrined, I sat down and wrote out everything a neighbor or petsitter would need to know – the medication schedule, how the meds are given, the feeding schedule, where to find more food in the freezer, how long the dogs can stay indoors at a stretch. Whether or not your animals have so many specific needs, no doubt they have their quirks that any caregiver would need to know.

I posted my “In Case of Emergency” sheet on the refrigerator, which is otherwise bare, so it will be spotted quickly by anyone coming in the house. The last words on it, for whoever ends up needing that information, are, "I am infinitely grateful to you."

Having it there, I am just a little less worried about my animals’ safety. I’m writing this because now I’m worried about yours.

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