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Sunday, July 5, 2009

What's in your wallet?


What’s in your wallet?

Sound familiar? I’m sure everyone has seen the Capital One credit card ad on TV that asks that very pertinent and personal question, "what's in your wallet?" and if you own pets, it’s even more of a pertinent question then you may realize, but not coming from Capital One, they just want your money!

Picture yourself out for a Sunday drive, the top is down on the convertible, the wind is blowing through your hair, and you’re chillin’ to some sixties tunes playing on the radio. You’re driving down a peaceful tree lined country street, the Beatles are singing ‘come together' in the background when suddenly some idiot talking on the cell phone runs through a stop sign and T-bones your car! Yikes, a very horrid thought, but relax it’s just a story and you’re not hurt bad enough that it warrants a morgue pick up, but hurt enough that you may not be communicative and have to be taken to a hospital.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you have five dogs and six cats living with you, (so you’re a bit nuts) and some are ill and require meds. You are unable to communicate this to the first responders who arrive on scene, but those responders are probably going through your wallet to see who you are so they can contact the next of kin, if there are any.

Humm, you’re kind of a loner with no next of kin, or, even more likely, your next of kin absolutely hate you because you didn’t invite dirty minded little Johnny to the family picnic. Who will take care of your animals while you’re in this condition? Who will even know you have animals? So, I have to ask the question again, “What’s in your wallet?”

I have to admit, having been a pet owner for most of my life, this is something I never even gave a thought to until I started volunteering with the State Animal Response Team (SART) and started making up those little wallet cards for the public. Now a days, pets are so much a part of our family and are treated as such that knowing you have provided information for their care is one less thing you have to worry about should the worst happen to you.

Having such information in your wallet is just as valuable as a your own identification as it lets responders know you have pets waiting for you at home and will need someone to check on them. If you don’t have access to such a card you should still put something similar in your wallet even if it is hand written. It should state your name & address, your vet’s name & phone number, the type of pet or pets you own, as well as a contact person (or two) with a phone number.

At home, you should have a little note on your fridge where you keep all the animal’s medications together in a basket or baggie in a cupboard. There should be a note with instructions or at least put the vet’s telephone number in with the medication so your contact person can call and get instructions. Sometimes meds such as flea meds or heartworm meds don’t have a vet number on them, especially if you get them online from Canada at a cheaper price. Any special instructions on your pets should also be included. Maybe you have an animal that needs to eat separate from others, or you have a dog that is fearful of people. Any information about each animal will be helpful to a caretaker.

So, check out the wallet card at the top of this post that I make up for the Columbia / Montour SART events and make a copy if you would like ‘cuz while idiots talking on cell phones come and go, hopefully our pets will be with us forever.

Happy Traveling! :)

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