Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Have a Safety Plan for Tornadoes


Dog emerges from the rubble of Oklahoma

Did you see the video? The one of the black schnauzer that was reached his little head out from the rubble as the owner was being interviewed about surviving the tornado. Her little schnauzer dog Bowsie was shaken but walking and okay as he struggled to get out of the rubble with the help of the television crew. Both dog and owner we reunited and the look of relief and gratitude was all over the woman's face.

After seeing this video I realized how this demonstrated the benefits of having a plan. Despite the destruction, the woman and her dog were safe because they had some protection in the best place in the house. As she said "I went into the bathroom with my little dog. This was the game plan all through the years - go in the bathroom." So, do you have a plan? Do you practice this plan with your pets and yourself? I noticed the dog was wearing his collar. This is so important!!!!!  Many pets that have survived tornadoes and hurricanes did not have collars or microchips increasing the anxiety and pain of owners searching. I have a hunch this was also part of "the plan" as she said. Be sure Bowsie has his collar on. I want him back. 

So what is a good disaster plan? One that is simple, easy to do and everyone in the home knows what to do. We live in the tornado belt - so what is the best place in your home for tornadoes? Be sure there is space for you and your pets. Then practice in a fun way calling your dog or cat to the bath room. Toss treats in there  and praise them. Call them in there when you brush your teeth. If it is the basement, toss a toy down the stairs so they go down and come up and make a game of it. This way when you need to move fast they will too.  

Keep the collar or harness on your dog or cat. Put your cell phone number on an id tag. Train your dog or cat to go into a carrier easily. Keep the carrier out and toss food kibble in there for them to go in as you point. Make it fun - like a game. A carrier can be very protective in a storm. If your dog hates the carrier see my video which shows how to train an adult dog to like the crate.  

I know this takes time, but what if you are like that woman in the video looking for your pet. If that little dog was loose in the house, it is very likely he would have been blown away (literally in a 200 mile per hour wind) and have died. What would be the difference in this woman's life? I think she would have been heartbroken for a long time. Her plan made her life better, Bowsie's life better and saved those first responders from trying to locate the her and finding shelter that is not there for the dog. 

Have a plan, practice it and hopefully you will never need to use it.

 - written by Dr. Sally Foote

Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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