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. 

Would you be prepared to save your pet’s life?

Many people have a close bond with their pets. Their pets are a companion, a friend, and even a part of the family.

I have seen this first hand. My father loves cats; he even named his cat Sox, after his favorite team~ the White Sox. I have seen him spend countless days sitting on the couch with his favorite pet right by his side. The cat even waits for my dad to come home from work, and then hops on his lap as soon as he sits down.

I have seen this scenario played out countless times with multiple friends and family members. Whether it is dogs, cats, or any other pet, many people treat their pets as a member of the family. They play with their pets, by special treats for them, and some even bring their pets on vacations. And I know that all of these friends and family members would do just about to anything to protect their pets from harm.

American Red Cross is helping people prepare to do just that. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago offers Pet First Aid Classes and Pet Safety Tips that help people prepare to keep their pets safe in times of emergencies.

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is offering $10 off Pet CPR Classes and 15% off Pet First Aid Kits designed to help you learn how to keep your furry friends safe in the case of an emergency.

Learn how you can be prepared to save your pet’s life.

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Marketing and Communications Intern

What do you do when your pet is sick?

Two Sundays ago, my dog Sanford wasn’t acting like himself. He was lethargic and vomited a few times. I wasn’t overly concerned at first. That changed several hours later when his condition worsened.

Because I took an American Red Cross pet first aid and CPR class last year I was able to recognize the signs of dehydration and also to realize when the situation had gotten to the point where he needed to see a vet right away.

After a series of X-rays and tests in the wee hours of Monday morning, we learned he had eaten something that caused an obstruction in his intestines. He required immediate emergency surgery and by 10 a.m. that morning, my 14 pound furry baby was draped, anesthetized and undergoing major abdominal surgery. A few days and two dozen or so metal staples later, Sanford was on his way to recovery. Oh and yes he did have to wear “that cone thing” on his head afterward but…he didn’t seem to mind.

A recent story on on WBBM 780 about online dog licenses says that Chicago is home to 500,000 dogs so there’s at least that many dog lovers here-likely more because some homes have more than one pet parent. Yet I don’t think that many of us have taken the time to take a class or read a book about to care for our furry family member in the event of an emergency. Have you?

Our web site sells books on cat and dog first aid and CPR as well as classes you can take. The class is great and the pet manikins are fun to learn on. They are used to show you the proper techniques to do things like splint injured limbs and perform CPR on your pet. The manikins you practice with in the class look like big stuffed animals but their lungs rise and fall when you blow into their snouts.

Here’s a video from the Daily Herald about how to perform pet CPR.

I have one more recommendation for all those pet lovers out there; look into pet insurance, see what’s out there and consider your options. Caring for your four legged best friend can be expensive. April is National Pet First Aid month; learn what to put in a pet first aid kit and more here.

Has your pet had an emergency? Tell us about it. Did you know what to do and most importantly was your pet OK?

Martha Carlos is admittedly a little obsessed with her pup, but then again what dog lover isn’t?

Animals Inside!

Dearest Readers:

Today, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss something very near and dear to our hearts: pet safety.

Last Tuesday, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago responded to a fire in the city of Chicago.

The client was sitting in the back of a police car because he had fled his home without shoes, but that was not his only concern: he had also left without his cats.
I, Lily, sat in the back of the car with him and tried to explain to him what assistance the Red Cross provides. He cut me off, only to ask if I could inquire about his cats. Having a cat myself, I could understand his anxiety and set off to find any information I could about his cats.
Several firemen told me that they had not seen any animals, but would continue looking. The police officer (who’s car we were sitting in) even offered to go look around the house with some treats after the fire department had gone – the client, however, knew that with the extensive damage to his home, the possibility of finding all three of his cats alive and well was not good.
Later that afternoon, the Chicago Tribune posted the picture seen above.

This site, is a great resource for ways to keep your pet safe.

It breaks down what to do before, during and after a disaster in regards to your beloved animals. Here are a couple highlights:

Have a current photograph.
Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet!

Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis.
As much as you love them, DO NOT reenter a home during a disaster to attempt a rescue. Instead, notify the firemen of the animal and let them go in after him/her.

Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home.
If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office.

Also, the American Red Cross organizes classes that teach both Dog and Cat first-aid.
Links for these classes in Chicago can be found at by browsing through the Traditional Course list.

Finally, the ASPCA ( can provide you with a pet safety sticker which you can put on your house to alert the firemen of the type/number of animals you have in the home.
– Lily and Sam……. and Macchiato

Does your pet have a disaster supply kit?

Mine does!

Mr. Maddox is seen here with his disaster supply kit.  Our kit includes: a collar and leash, his vet records, a blanket, some of his toys, food, water and a pet first aid kit.  
In honor of National Preparedness Month we’re giving away one of our Pet First Aid Kits! This functional fanny pack contains all

 the essential first aid items should an emergency arise with your pet. A must have should an emergency arise during that early morning or late night walk!

Just comment on our blog this week, and at 5 p.m. Friday we’ll pick a winner randomly from all the comments we get and send you your kit. 

Tell us if you have a disaster supply kit for your dog or cat, and what is included! 

Make sure you include your email so we know how to contact you!

Is your pet prepared?!

September is Preparedness month – so just checking in to make sure you have a plan for your beloved pet!

Make sure you have a Pet disaster plan:
Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets.  
• Know which hotels or motels outside your immediate area accept pets.
• Keep a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who can shelter animals in an emergency.
Have a Pet disaster supplies kit:
Include medications and medical records, first aid kit, sturdy leash, harness, pet carrier, current photo of pet, food, water, bowls, cat litter pan, can opener, pet bed and toys.
Also include your veterinarian’s number. Make sure your pets are weraing secure collars with up-to-date identification.
For more information visit: