By Charlene Marchand
For Capital Region Independent Media
EXTRA EXTRA! All animals cared for by our CGHS/SPCA shelter will be FREE to adopt during the month of August!
Continuing with Laura Manchester’s first-aid hiking list from last column:
- SprayShield: If a threatening animal gets too close to you or your dog.
- Emergency blanket (those small, compact silver ones for keeping in car or for hikers): Not only will this keep your dog warm if it’s a cold day, after the sun goes down, or if he starts to go into shock, but it can also be used by you and another person as a “sling” to transport an injured dog. In extreme cases, the reflective surface could be used as a flash signal to summon help.
- “Cheater” glasses: If you need glasses to read, you will need them to treat a wound or remove quills or splinters. Don’t be caught with all the proper emergency supplies — and not be able to use them because you can’t see!
- Dog ID tag: Even though my dog has a microchip, I always keep his physical ID tags on when we are out so if we get separated and someone picks up my dog, she can call me immediately, without going through the process of having a vet or shelter reading the chip. By using a two-sided tag, I can have my home contact information on one side and common “while visiting phone numbers” on the other. (Tip: forgo putting dog’s name on tag, and use the additional engraving line for a helpful number or address.)
• Water: Although this isn’t an emergency supply, it is important to remember to provide water for your dog. Unless you are fully confident that there is a ready supply of fresh, clean water on the trail — and that your dog is comfortable drinking from streams or ponds — carry water for him. Bring either a collapsible water dish that will fit in your fanny pack and share your supply with him, or bring a “Gulpee,” a water bottle that has an attached drinking tray for the dog.
If travelling with dog, keep in car:
- Copy of recent vet records: In case you have to make an emergency visit to a new, out-of-town vet, have a list of recent shots, any allergies, and any health issues a vet should be aware of.
- Copy of microchip info: In case you and your dog get separated, it is good to have this info for quick reference.
- Recent photo of dog: If you get separated, it might come in handy. Photo should be recent and show distinguishing marks/features (no, not a photo of Pooch dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween!).
- Seat belt/harness/crate for traveling; that’s probably another story!
I know the current trend in running, hiking and biking is to “Go Lite,” but sometimes it is worth carrying a little extra weight for the safety of our buddies.
Carrying supplies shouldn’t be limited to only out-of-the-way or lengthy hikes — even when close to home, it is a good idea to carry a first-aid kit. A mile is an awfully long distance when trying to maneuver a wounded or sick dog to safety.
There are some lessons we don’t want to learn the hard way, and being out in the woods with an injured dog and no way to help him is near the top of that list. Believe me, an extra pound in your pack lightens the burden of responsibility for another creature that sits heavily on your shoulders.
Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at www.cghs.org.
Charlene Marchand is the Chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Laura Manchester is a CGHS/SPCA volunteer.