How to prepare your pets for severe weather

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) As severe weather season ramps up, many are looking to get prepared in case of disaster. But have you thought of everyone in your home?

Beverly Tavares was the first person to show up to Skaer Veterinary Clinic Saturday for a class on disaster preparedness. She was one who asked several questions during the sessions, too.

"I don't know if it would be different; he's been in hurricanes, he's been in earthquakes," Tavares said.

The "he" she's talking about: her dog, 12-year-old Shadow.

"My dog is the only thing that kept me alive when my husband died because it was such a devastation because it was just so quick," Tavares said. "I just didn't know what to, I didn't want to go, I didn't want to be and I had to get up, I had to feed him I had to take him out, just all those things."

That's why she decided she wanted to be sure Shadow is by her side if any disaster hits her home. That is something Veterinarian Christen Skaer said she wasn't to be sure of, too.

"It's important to have a plan beforehand to know when you're going and what you're doing beforehand because when the time comes, you're not going to be able to think straight," Skaer said."

Skaer went over the necessities for being prepared: food and water for 72 hours, a blanket or toy, an animal trained to go down to the basement and identification.

She said if that right steps aren't taken beforehand, owners and pets could be separated permanently.

"We had 350 animals during Greensburg that did not have, most of them didn't have identification, so we could not really match them with their owners and it's devastating because sometimes when you lose your house and you lose your car, and sometimes human family members, Fluffy may be all you have and it's really important to get back to Fluffy," Skaer said.

Skaer said the biggest mistake people make is they don't get their pets microchipped or tagged, which are simple procedures that could bring owners back with their furry family member.

Because of Saker's response to the Greensburg Tornado back in 2007, she had a firsthand look at what it's like reuniting owners and pets. She advises putting several phone numbers on an animal's tag in case one phone is damaged. In addition, taking a photo with a pet can help rescuers place pets and owners back together, too.