Pet First Aid: “They’re family.”

photoI’ve always lived with a pet in the house. I’ve loved them all, but Oliver cat was the first pet who was completely mine that I raised on my own.

Pets are our furry friends. Our constant companions. They’re family.  They love us unconditionally. In the helter-skelter of our busy lives, they slow us down and point out the simplicity of what pure joy looks like – food in the bowl, a new toy to play with, or a hug from us when we come home from school or work. When they hurt, we hurt. And when they die, so does a little piece of us.

Around 4 a.m. one morning Oliver crawled to me, his tiny heart racing fast. I cradled one hand under his head and my other hand around his heart. Then it stopped beating. He died in my arms before I reached the 24-hour vet. It’s been three years and I still miss my orange tabby cat.

That’s why today I downloaded the Red Cross Pet First Aid App. It tells you what to do during a medical emergency that’s specific to animals. It puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

I love this App because pet owners can:

•  Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.

•  Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their vet.

•  Use “click-to-call” to contact their vet.

•  Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate vets with the “animal hospital locator.”imagesCAJ8TBV2

During a disaster, caring for animals is always a concern when you have to evacuate. For dogs like golden retriever, Sagimo, the Red Cross was a welcomed community presence when relief teams arrived to help during the Colorado wildfires last summer.

I met many pet owners, like Derek Gentry, who fled his South Fork home with his dog, Inca. Many animal rescue shelters will take pets and you can find them on this App so everyone in your family can find a safe place to go during an emergency.

Two years ago, I adopted Arthur, whom I affectionately call “Mr. A.” He’s my buddy.

I believe he can live a long life with me.

Written by Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. 

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