This is not a post I intended to write. It is a post that will likely generate some criticism and negative comments, but it is absolutely not my intent to offend anyone or “take advantage” of a horrible situation. This is a post about the horrific events occurring in California and my heartache over the lives lost… people and animals.
Watch out for Dorothy!
I live in tornado alley, as evidenced by the fact that Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz lived in my state! My house is on a hill, and I live in a house/barn combo, a “Barndominium”! I built a totally concrete pantry that serves as my tornado shelter should I find myself needing one. It is large enough to accommodate several humans and lots of dogs. It isn’t large enough for my horses.
Years ago I used to try and be the one to make the decisions about where my horses would ride out bad weather, but very quickly they convinced me that they were the ones who should make that decision. Some have preferred the middle of the dry lot, some like the stall.
Flooding costs the lives of two horses
Kansas can endure some serious flooding, and within a few miles of where I once lived, two horses were washed out of their pasture during a severe flood and died. It was very, very sad. It was all over the news… a desperate owner pleading for people to keep their eyes open. One of the horses was quite old and the woman had owned the mare for decades. Eventually, a rescuer found the horses on the banks of a swollen stream, entangled in debris.
When bad weather is approaching, we get a fair amount of notice. No one can predict when a tornado will occur, of course, but the conditions that can spawn one are fairly predictable. While I worry a great deal about my horses during bad weather, there is not much I can do. Unlike a fire or a hurricane, the usual path of destruction for a tornado is relatively small. The Joplin tornado was a mile wide – larger than most. It certainly is possible my horses could be hit by flying debris, or even picked up and carried around by a tornado. I have heard stories about that very occurrence. I can’t imagine…
But if the worst-case scenario occurred, and my horses were injured or released from their pasture, the area of destruction would be fairly small. They would either be recognized by neighbors or find their own way home. When the destruction is widespread, as in fires or hurricanes, entire communities are wiped out. Few landmarks or habitable areas remain.
ID Tags have many uses
When I created my ID MyHorse Emergency Identification Tags, I created them for trail riders like me, “older” women who often ride alone or in very small groups. I wasn’t thinking about natural disasters. But last year, during the previous California wildfire crisis, I was speaking on the phone with a gal regarding placing an ad in a national magazine. The marketing gal happened to live in California and she also managed a California publication. It was her idea that I inform the public about the availability of my identification tags, and she was absolutely convinced that it would be an invaluable resource for Californians struggling to survive the fire season. I read numerous stories last year about horses turned loose in the face of advancing fire. One fairground facility ended up housing over 800 horses, with little ability to identify who they belonged to or where they came from.
So that brings me to the latest crisis in California. I simply can’t imagine what those people are going through. Fire destroyed the entire community of Paradise, California. How many lives were lost there? People, pets, horses? It happened very fast, and yet… there clearly was significant news coverage of fires in the area. I would like to see all horse, dog, and cat owners have identifying information on their animals. Ideally, this is accomplished well in advance of a looming crisis.
Embroidered collars for dogs
My favorite method for identifying my dogs is to have their name and my cell phone number embroidered on their collar. I use this company but there are many options. No dangling, noisy tags. They are all microchipped but a contact phone number is immediately available.
I am NOT trying to capitalize on the crisis in California. I AM trying to help Californians recover their horses. If you live in California and you are potentially in the path of one of these devastating fires, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide you tags at a significantly reduced cost. Prayers are with all of you in the path of such horrific destruction.