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Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Columnist Sherry Davis.

At least twice a year I make it a practice to update my dogs' records file, which includes verifying upcoming vaccination dates, updating microchip contacts and purging any unnecessary or outdated paperwork. Recently as I performed that habitual process, I decided it was as good a time as any to do the same with my dogs' disaster to-go bag. That reminded me it was time to reiterate the importance of being prepared to evacuate with your pet.

The Red Cross recommends that a disaster kit has supplies to take care of your pets for a minimum of three to seven days and includes:

* Pet first-aid kit and instruction guide. You can make your own or buy these online. (I carry a Red Cross pet first-aid kit in my car at all times.)

* At least three to seven days worth of canned and dry food. (Rotate each time you purchase new food.)

* Two-week supply of medications pet takes regularly (watch expiration dates and rotate).

* Food and water dishes.

* Disposable litter box and newspaper or litter material.

* Dish soap and disinfectant.

* Garbage bags for clean-ups.

* Flashlight and batteries. (Watch expiration dates and rotate as needed.)

* Bottled water, at least enough for a week. (Rotate every two months.)

* A crate for each pet.

* Extra collar, ID tag (should have your cell phone number) and leash.

* A blanket, to cover or carry an injured pet.

* A tie-out lead, yard stake and harness.

* Photocopies of pet's medical records.

* Recent photos of your pets in case you get separated.

* Toys/treats.

Some additional items you may want to include:

* Battery-operated crate fans.

* Reflective crate covers or sunscreen.

* Cool-coats or towels that can be soaked in water to cool an over-heated pet.

* Crate pads.

* Basic grooming supplies: brush, comb, nail clipper.

* Duct tape.

You probably already have many of these supplies on hand. Gather and store them in a backpack or duffel bag and kept in a convenient place, so the only real effort to stay prepared will be to rotate the food, water and medications on a regular basis.

If disaster strikes, our pets will depend on us to take care of them. Get prepared now!


Paws up

Several years ago Jerry and Judy Tonnelli rescued a fearful and snappy 4-month-old puppy abandoned in a watermelon field. With patience and hard work Mellon Kollie BN, RE, CGC has become a social and obedient pet and with Jerry handling is now rated by Front and Finish as the No, 10 All-American dog in Rally Advanced competition for 2013.

As well as training for competition, Mellon is serving as a mentor for the Tonnellis' latest acquisition; a badly mannered, re-homed Australian Shepherd named Molly. Sounds like she's in good paws.

Not to be outdone, Mellon's classmate, Little Bit of Pixie Dust RA (Pixie) was rescued by Dr. Julie Mischke, DVM, of Coffee Road Animal Hospital from a hoarding situation with a crippling fear of people, especially men. As a result of Julie's "devil's in the details" training and handling, Pixie has overcome much of her fearfulness and enjoys competing in performance events with her owner. Pixie has been rated by Front and Finish as the No. 7 Dachshund in Rally Advanced competition for 2013.

Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/ owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s@ These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.