Covid-19 has challenged us all in ways we probably never expected. It has had its up sides though. For me, more time at home being able to appreciate my pets has been one of them.
I love them, but how prepared am I if I needed to evacuate quickly? Luckily, someone has been thinking a bit more about this than I have.
One of the other up sides to Covid-19 is the surge in innovation the world over. Even in the face of business losses and a difficult financial downturn, small business owners continue to find novel solutions to keep going.
Steve and Lisa Glassey are two such people. They chose not to wait for challenging times in their businesses to just blow over. Instead, they started a new one Pet Save.
Its stated goal is to:
turn the online pet supplies industry on its head by creating a company that would put 100% of its profits back into animal welfare.”
What has this got to do with evacuating pets or emergencies?
Isn’t this just another online pet store?
The answer is both yes and no.
More needs to be done
To understand a bit better, you have to understand who exactly Steve and Lisa are. These two unassuming Wellingtonians are animal welfare and charity heavy weights!
With their experience of animal welfare in New Zealand they believe that while many people work tirelessly for the good of animals, more needs to be done. Changes need to happen in how our society provides for animals.
Both have contributed significant portions of their lives to working at the SPCA and other charitable organisations. Lisa’s forte was fundraising. She also worked with other charities such as Ronald McDonald House.
Steve served as an Animal Welfare Inspector for years before leaving to upskill and train further. He then later returned as the CEO of the Wellington SPCA. His main field of work, study and research has been animal emergency management.
By sponsoring animal welfare charities that they trust, Steve and Lisa are helping to ensure these groups have the capacity to help in every day times.
The tug toy box twist
Also, they have introduced a seemingly small twist that could make all the difference when seconds matter.
Where possible, products shipped from PetSave are packaged in New Zealand made boxes which double as pet carriers.
If you have a cat, you’re more than likely familiar with the simple folding cardboard box with a convenient handle for containing Fluffy and getting her from A to B.
In a recent media release, they state, “The lack of pet carriers is a causal factor in evacuation failure during disasters, so saturating the community with as many pet carriers as possible is likely to not only save animals, but people too as they often return in harm’s way to rescue animals left behind… although this cuts into the social enterprise’s profit margin, it’s about paws before profit”.
In his work with Animal Evac New Zealand, Steve and the team distributed more than 150 pet carriers in the township of Bundanoon, New South Wales as bushfires forced evacuations.
The simple fact is that having carriers available and ready to hand means that pets’ lives are saved. It also means that pets are not left behind.
This is becoming an important consideration internationally. Rescue agencies are beginning to recognise the importance of preventing pet owners returning to hazardous situations in their attempts to rescue pets.
Furthermore, PetSave products are packaged with information about pet emergency preparedness.
Simple things to consider include:
- Mitigating the risk of harm in the event of a natural disaster or accident. Consider the environment your animals are kept in and how they may present dangers.
- Considering various tracking technologies and making use of animal registers such as microchipping, 0800 LOST PET, New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR) and your local council’s registration system.
- Preparing yourself by considering the likelihood of hazards in your local context and knowing emergency contacts. Know where to look for emergency guidance, like Civil Defence or local emergency management authorities.
- Prepare a safety plan in advance, including important details like where local evacuation points are, your pet’s vet and details of important medical conditions.
- Ensure that you have an emergency supply of food and water for each pet and quick access to any medications they may need or other special considerations.
- Consider essentials such as a pet carrier, and a pet first aid kit (which should include effective restraints, such as a muzzle, as an animal in pain is very likely to attack).
PetSave is another great example of Kiwis being handed lemons and making lemonade.
When things get tough, there is always someone who chooses to lean into the challenge and leverage the opportunity for positive change.
It might be something as simple as a cardboard box that makes a meaningful difference to the lives of you and those you love.
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