Will You Be Coming Home to Your Dogs Tonight?

by Susi on August 13, 2013

in Accidents, bike rides, bike riding, Dogs, ICE, In Case of Emergency, MedicTag, Road ID, thumb drive

Post image for Will You Be Coming Home to Your Dogs Tonight?

Had he died, mine would have been the last face he ever saw. People don’t tend to die in bicycle accidents when a car isn’t involved. They tend to break themselves into pieces. This man had broken his nose. Also his neck.

He’d ridden past me, which is to say he was going too fast for the path we were on.  He’d negotiated one curve, but physics was against him as he approached the second too quickly and it was here his bicycle took over. As he lost control, his handlebars wobbled sideways – gently at first, then wildly.  I’m not sure what launched the man and his bicycle into space, but it was enough to clear a three foot rock wall lining the bicycle path.  He landed on the hillside awkwardly and wailed an ear deafening, otherworldly sound I’ll never forget.

He was far louder than I’d been when I wrecked on the same path three years before. But then, I was unconscious.

By the time I rode up to the man a moment later, I had my cell phone out, but as I called 911, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be going home that night.  I hadn’t gone home the night of my accident, either.

I wondered if he had someone waiting for him at home.

I wondered if he had pets.

In my accident, both my husband and I were injured, he with broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a punctured lung and torn rotator cuff, I with a concussion and small brain bleed (which, my dogs say, explains everything over the last three years). We’d been lucky in that my husband remained alert and was able to communicate with paramedics, as well as call our daughter. She took charge and split her time between caring for her wild and crazy parents and our pets.

But what if I’d been alone when I had the accident? What if I had lived alone? Who would have known that I had dogs and a rabbit at home, let alone cared for them?

Today I write not about making long-term provisions for your animals, but about the first 24 hours after you’re incapacitated (God forbid).  Right now, I’m asking you what happens if you don’t go home tonight?  I ask because I can promise you that as I got on my road bike that morning, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be coming back.  I’m pretty sure that a broken neck wasn’t in the plans for the chap whose accident I witnessed, either.

I know of people who think they have things “covered” because they have a note on their refrigerator door with instructions on how to care for their pets. That’s great if they also have tattooed on their forehead, “I have pets at home” along with an address and a door key hanging from an ear.  Without either, how is anyone to know they have pets, and how is anyone to get into the house to care for them?

I’ve learned a few things since my accident and if nothing else, I hope to prod you into thinking about a subject no one likes to think about: What if you don’t make it home tonight?

A quick run to the store may take longer than we think

A quick run to the store may take longer than we think

Before the day is over, make sure your cell phone has an ICE entry on your call list. I.C.E. stands for “in case of emergency” and should include the phone numbers of at least two people who have access to your home and are comfortable caring for your pets. EMTs, firefighters and emergency room personnel know to look for this I.C.E. entry on cell phones, and if you’re unconscious, it may be the only way your friends, family, or even a neighbor is notified and your pets cared for.

If your ICE contacts can’t be reached, if you live alone, have no friends or family, or are new in town, it’s not a bad idea to find a professional pet sitting service before you need one, which, if all else fails, can at least get to your pets immediately until someone is found to fill in. Find a service with which you’re comfortable and tell them that you’d like to list them as a contact on your ICE list. Make sure the other people you have listed as contacts are aware of the service just in case they can’t care for your pets and can contact them on your behalf. Try to find someone who’s certified with NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet sitters).

Never assume that the person to whom you’ve given a house key can get to your home quickly, or even that this same person will be the one to get to your pets first.  A key should be hidden somewhere accessible on the outside of your home and your contacts advised of its location, but realize that the only available person might be a neighbor whom your ICE contacts should know how to reach. In a perfect world, the first person to get to your pets will be someone you trust, but be mindful that it might also be a complete stranger. If you elect to use a professional service, be aware that some of them won’t use a “hide-a-key” for liability reasons. Use a bonded service that will keep a copy of your key on file.

Many people are starting to carry a personal “thumb,” or flash drive like the Sony Micro Vault Thumb Drive containing ICE information, health alerts and pet care instructions. It comes with a soft shell carrying case that can be attached to key chains or hung around one’s neck.  Other people prefer something like the MedicTag that looks more like an emergency device and may be easier to spot by medical personnel. My own preference is the Road ID, a wrist band with color and tag options. There’s even one for dogs!

When I'm riding my bike, it's the most important piece of equipment I have that doesn't have moving parts

When I’m riding my bike, my Road ID is the most important piece of equipment I carry that doesn’t have moving parts

As for your pets, every time you leave the house you should consider their “what ifs” as well. Dogs can go awhile without food, but they need water. It’s never a bad idea to have a water system like this in the dog area, but even that is pointless if you keep your dogs crated when you’re out of the house. There are pros and cons to crating dogs during your absences, but if you do crate them, it’s especially important that you carry ICE contact information and leave a way for someone to get into the house to let them out.

There are a lot of clever ways to hide a key, but in addition to the key itself there should be a slip of paper indicating where pet instructions can be found. Those instructions should include common sense information:

  • A picture of each pet with his or her name below;
  • Food – where it’s kept, how much is given and how often pets are fed;
  • Medications;
  • Veterinarian contact information (as well as the name and number of an emergency clinic in case your regular veterinarian isn’t available), and a signed and dated note giving permission for the pet sitter to take your pet to your veterinarian in an emergency; 
  • Where leashes can be found;
  • Mention your dog’s favorite hiding place in the house. Dogs who feel stress, detect change, or are frightened of a stranger will often hide. Where will that be?
  • What words do you use to tell the dogs it’s time for a potty break, to go for a walk, or get into their crates? Little things are helpful not only to the person helping your pets, but also to maintain some normalcy for the pets.

Once help arrives, remember that this person may be a stranger to your dogs. Depending upon the dog(s), leaving dog treats near the door enables someone to “bribe” their way into a dog’s trust, or at least break the ice.

No one plans to have an accident, and few of us leave our homes thinking we won’t be coming back, especially if it’s a quick run to the store – or a bike ride. Take a few minutes to think about your pets’ first 24 hours without you. In a future article, I’ll be writing about longer term scenarios.

As to the man whose accident I’d witnessed, he was discharged the following day by the VA Hospital in Denver. He called me several times over the coming months, hungry for details of what I’d seen as he tried to understand what had happened to him. He’d been told that if he had broken his neck in a place even a fraction of a centimeter away from where it did break, he would have been paralyzed.  It was a life altering event for him, and I think about him every time I get on a bike.

UPDATE – 8/19/13: Response to this article has been, to say the least, overwhelming, and I’ve been humbled by the number of reprint requests and notes expressing gratitude for having written it. The most important comments, however, have come from medical and emergency personnel who’ve written to suggest I update my information which I’m happy to do now.

The Acadian I.C.E App indicates an emergency contact number even if your phone is locked

The Acadian I.C.E App indicates an emergency contact number even if your phone is locked

Several readers wrote to advise me that ICE cell phone listings are problematic these days because of password protection. While there are “tricks” to get around cell phone passwords,  emergency response personnel don’t have the time to fiddle around with “tricks” while they’re trying to save your life. The most sensible solution is to create an emergency contact banner for your phone’s home screen or lock screen so that even if you’re unable to communicate, authorities can contact your emergency contact even if your phone is locked. There are many apps to consider, including Acadia’s free iPhone app, the Cadence ICE app for Droids and iPhones, and this one from Google Apps for Droids, but a simple search using the phrase, “ICE lock screen app” either through your iPhone’s App Store, your Droid’s Android Market, or even using a Google search on your computer will bring up lots of options. Find the best one for yourself, but find one if your phone is password protected or locked.

If you’re the creative sort undaunted by “techie” things, consider making your own home or lock screen with your ICE numbers on it by looking at this You Tube video.

A few people from the emergency medical profession wrote to explain that virtually the first thing they do in an emergency is to look for a victim’s identification. Keeping ICE information on a slip of paper wrapped around, say, a driver’s license, they say,  will be seen by authorities long before they’ll look for ICE numbers on a cell phone.  To be safe, it’s not a bad idea to do this and have an emergency contact banner for your phone’s home screen or lock screen.

My final update comes from a reader who keeps ICE information on her dogs’ crates in the car just in case of a vehicular accident.  And to that end, are your dogs’ microchipped? I’ve heard too many stories of dogs that survived a car accident but got loose and were hit by other cars –  or lost, altogether.

Writing about this puts me in a somber mood, but the subject is too important to avoid. I know you love your pets. Now do something to protect them if you don’t come home tonight.


{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly Gardner August 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I know too well how important this is, when last February I ended up in the hospital for 11 days deathly ill with Meningitis… I am single, live alone, and had two dogs at home… I’m lucky to have a great neighbor that has access to my house and loves my dogs too… but I definitely need a back up plan and need to write down instructions, etc… thanks for the reminder….


Susi August 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I appreciate hearing of your experience, Molly, and am quite glad you beat Meningitis, it had to have been a horrible experience. Your note serves to underscore my point that we rarely expect to have life altering events, but we can (and should) anticipate them by planning ahead. If you have pointers for other readers, I’d love to hear them.


Molly Gardner August 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I now keep an “In Case of Emergency” card in my purse, car, and in my pocket (if need be)… I have several local friends and neighbors listed, all who know how to get in my house and know my dogs…


Molly Gardner August 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

oh, I also have crates in my car… my dogs always travel in crates, and I have emergency cards attached to their crates too… with all pertinent information about them, special needs, emergency contacts, vet info, etc…


Susi August 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Dare I ask, Molly, if it’s because of the article? You can lie and tell me I CHANGED YOUR LIFE.


Mary Bloom August 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Great article Susi. I will put my pet sitters number on ICE right now. I have a note in my wallet and glove compartment but I know first hand often no one looks there when they are tending to someone injured in a car.

It’s always a worry to me regardless of how prepared I am because I live alone.

Thanks for the reminder to tend to this better than I have,

Mary Bloom


Susi August 16, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Any time I hear from you, Mary, is a treat, and to hear from you in response to something I wrote, well, it’s a red letter day! Leaving pets untended because we can’t be there is a worry to all of us, to be sure, but for those of us who live alone, or are alone when we’re injured, well, it’s a nightmare! If the article helped any one person or pet – I can sleep better!


Dawn mcnamara August 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for this great article. I shared it and already several other people have shared and liked it.


Susi August 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I really appreciate that, Dawn. I have this horror in my mind of crated dogs waiting in vain for their owner to come home. If I can help folks plan ahead, I’ll sleep better at night!


Maryk August 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Great point! It doesn’t even have to happen to you. My husband went in for a stress test and came home 11 days later, after emergency bypass surgery. I spent hours & hours at the hospital. Lucky for me I had friends who could get into my home and my dog was comfortable with them. Good thing, too – because she had to stay with them the entire time.


Susi August 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

An excellent point, Maryk. We can be healthy, but helping loved ones can be all time consuming. I’m glad you shared this!


Nancy August 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

While medics, Police and Firefighters may know to look for ICE information on your phone, more and more often due to privacy concerns, cell phones are password protected and the personal info cannot be accessed. Always make certain to keep even a slip of paper with your ID to indicate who to contact in an emergency. Time is of the essence in these situations and trying to break into a protected cell phone for information may not be feasible or possible.


Susi August 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

An excellent point, Nancy, and I’m glad you made it! Thanks for sharing it here.


LD August 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

there are ICE information apps that even if your cell is locked it displays the contact info on the screen if someone presses any button on the phone. So – that is the only info that anyone can see at anytime. Very handy and likely the only way it should be used! It’s no good if your phone is locked!


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

This is great to know! Thanks for passing it along, LD, I’m going to look it up on my own phone today!


stephanie August 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

I leave my ICE info posted on my lock screen. I have a Black Berry, so this is possible. Not sure about other phones like iPhone


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

Stephanie, you’ve inspired me to look for a similar application on my smart phone – thanks!


rontuaru August 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I trail ride (horses) alone 99% of the time. I wear a Survival Strap that has my basic personal info (name, DOB, home phone & address) and my contact person’s name and phone number. I braid a similar ID tag into my horse’s mane in case we get separated. (I also use this ID tag on her during hurricane season) Then I found a site called Rider Alert. (Google it) You can get a device for yourself and your horse. Yes, you pay a fee to register your info, but you can register as much info and as many contacts as you like. (And you can get Alert tags for pets too) While I still continue to use my Survival Strap when I ride horses and bikes, I’m seriously thinking about using the Rider Alert, specifically because I can keep all the pet info stored there and have quick access to that info to update or change it as needed.


Susi August 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I absolutely love it when readers share tips that work for them – thanks for telling us about Rider Alert. It sounds much like the Road ID in that one has to pay a fee to register oneself, but I find the peace of mind well worth it. For anyone interested, here’s their website: http://www.ridealert.us/_index.php


Jennifer August 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

These are very good points! I have a card in the front of my wallet with a red banner stating “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY I have 2 dogs at home that need to be taken care of. Please contact:” and I list 5 people and a total of 9 phone ‪#‎s‬. I also have the keys to the houses of 2 friends in the area.


Susi August 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Thanks, Jennifer – and you sound on top of it! I appreciate your comment that helps underscore the importance of “what if” thinking.


Judy Byrd August 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Great article and advice. Thanks! One of my adopters wiped out a couple months ago, on a bike, punctured lung and broke ribs. I believe she was lucky…

Reminds me that it has been a while (as in BFB) since I’ve brought up for rescue friends to think about what to do in case of a house fire. I had two friends with around 20 dogs and cats, who had fires. Both of them lost more animals than they had to, because after they carried them outside, the cats and dogs followed them BACK inside, repeatedly. You had to be able to secure pets outside. Bet you could do a nice job with that topic.


Susi August 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I appreciate that, Judy, as well as the vote of confidence about handling an article about securing pets outside during a fire. You raise a great point that pets typically follow us around, including back into a burning building! I’m going to “percolate” this idea for a bit – maybe hit up the firemen who man the station down the street from me (Note: they really are all men) for their insights and hints. Great idea, Judy!


Meg August 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for a great article…lots of things I had not thought about and I worry about this all the time. I apologize if this was mentioned and I missed it in the comments…
I have used ICE for years…but recently I have had to lock my phone as I work around kids and do not want them using it. There is an app called EmergencyID that helps you create a picture that goes on your homescreen so that emergency personelle will not be stopped by having to enter a password. I have 3 contacts on my homescreen that can be contacted. Just one more safeguard! 🙂


Susi August 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I appreciate the kind remark, Meg, but I REALLY appreciate the tip about the cell phone lock. Someone mentioned it earlier and I wondered how to get around the basic security measures that many of us have to use on our phone. You just solved it – thanks!!!!


Amy August 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I read a horrifying article long ago with this same message. This story has stuck with me through the years.
Don’t let this happen to those in your care. Take the necessary steps to ensure someone will know to take care of them.


Susi August 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Thanks for sharing the link, Amy. It is indeed a story that “sticks.”


julie August 15, 2013 at 12:10 am

great reminder!

I also have and “ICE-dogs” contact in my cell phone. originally i’d done it because my two dogs often accompany me on my errands. the ice person i selected is someone i trust to drop everything and rescue my dogs should the need arise.

one other consideration in selecting my ‘ice’ was someone that would unfailingly be willing to plop down a credit card number at a animal emergency clinic and she is also someone that understands that i’ll gladly pay for expensive surgery if it means saving my dog. while it might not be an ‘official’ medical power of atty, my ice understands that i’m not an owner that would elect euthanasia because of a potential high vet bill. …….and i trust her to make the right decision if need be in an emergency. .


Barb August 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

Thanks for a great article and links to some wonderful resources! (I don’t live alone but hadn’t thought about the dehydration potential).

Some additional thoughts, our dogs are crated in the car when we’re out and I sometimes just carry my ID in plastic pouch in my pocket but I’ve added an Emergency type card on top of the stack that says I may have dogs crated in my car, gives a description of the car, and authorizes whatever means necessary for their survival. Might just be a quick dash into a store on the way home from a training class, but you never know if a medical emergency might change things in a hurry.

Regarding the fire issue, I won’t leave my dogs anywhere where they will be crated/caged when people aren’t around and the facility doesn’t have MONITORED fire alarms. I’ve seen too many sad local news stories over the years with firemen pulling dogs out of boarding facilities after a fire. Had a vet that was in a strip type mall next to a small convenience store, no overnight staff at the vet and all they had was the beep type smoke detectors that didn’t dial out. Never would leave my dog with them for any type of overnight care. (we have an alarm system in our house primarily for the fire monitoring).

Thanks again for getting the word out and keeping more puppers safe!!


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

And thank YOU, Barb, for the heads up about monitored fire alarms as well as the emergency card in your wallet about having dogs in the car.


Linda August 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

Thanks for a great reminder!
Several years ago, a local dog show friend who lived alone died. Despite immediate response from friends when it hit the news, all her dogs were taken to an animal shelter because she left no instructions. They would not release them to any of her friends. A distant relative was finally located and the dogs were released to her. It was a big heads up, and I think a lot of refrigerators now have contact instructions “in case of” for the dogs posted on them.


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

This is a GREAT reminder, Linda, and I’ll include this in my future follow up piece on longer term plans for dogs affected by their owners’ accident or illness. Thanks!


Shelley August 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

Thanks so much for this really well-written article. I work for a pet-sitting service and passed it along to them with the suggestion that they recommend to our clients listing us in the I.C.E. contacts.We have keys to all our clients’ homes and could be there on very short notice…and the pets all know us already.


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

I appreciate the kind words, Shelly, and especially like hearing the endorsement from a professional pet sitter! If there’s anything else you think we should know in the event that we don’t make it home that night, I’d love to hear it. What do people often leave off their instruction list that would be helpful for a pet sitter to know?


Tasha August 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

Thank you for this post. I live alone with my dogs and never really thought of what would happen to them if I didn’t come home one day. They mean the world to me and I would hope that they would be okay. I will make a game plan if the worst was to ever happen.


Susi August 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

I’m glad you found it helpful, Tasha. If we’re ever in a position of being unable to come home to our dogs, it’s likely due to something bad. Worrying about our loved ones – pets or people – never helped anyone heal faster.


Shannon August 15, 2013 at 11:48 am

Great article! I’ve often thought about this but never actually did anything about it – well now I will! Shared this with my Facebook page for lost and found pets – often pets are lost during an emergency situation, and your advice here could do a lot towards minimizing that risk. Thanks for bringing this up!


Susi August 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I appreciate the feedback Shannon – and thanks for sharing the article! I operate on the adage that life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Better to plan than be surprised, right?


donna August 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Happened to me! neighbor who was trusted in past took advantage of the situation and walked out with $7,000 to care for dogs over 4 months but…..another so-called friend tried to get in and take my show dogs and even tried to break in to my house for their registration papers while the old dogs or those he couldn’t ‘make any money off of’, he was planning to put them to sleep! dogs are safe and sound with me at home but…….BE SURE you can TRUST whoever takes care of them, I was taken advantage of so……..be careful!


Susi August 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

What a nightmare, Donna! I’m glad you shared this to help underscore the importance of trustworthy individuals. Other readers have commented on security settings on smart phones, and I want to stress again that if a professional pet sitting service is hired – make sure it’s bonded!


Carole August 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I have a problem I haven’t seen addressed. I have two dogs that hate each other and would kill each other given the opportunity. Long story, not for this post, but the bottom line is I adore them both and would never give either of them up. I work at home and my solution has been to keep one of the dogs crated at all times. They’re fine with it, dogs sleep most of the day anyway, and they know they’re protected. Cardinal rule is do not let a dog out until you are SURE the other is crated. Don’t guess or assume. So anyone coming in the house wouldn’t have a problem UNLESS they released the crated dog. It’s a lot to ask anyone to come in and deal with that issue. I can leave notes, etc., but it would make ME nervous if anyone asked me to do that.


Susi August 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Your note brings to mind a true anecdote I was told years ago by a Collie fancier who adored her dogs, but two of them would KILL EACH OTHER on sight. Like you, she always kept one crated when the other one was out. That is until the day she had to leave the house in a BIG hurry (I seem to recall that she’d gotten an emergency phone call that a family member had been in a car accident). In her haste, she threw all the dogs into their crates and left the house to scream to the hospital. The good news, she told me, was that the injuries were minor. The “interesting” news is that once she got home and “released the hounds,” she discovered that she had “thrown” one dog into a crate already occupied by his mortal enemy. Both emerged unscathed and I can only guess that the one thing that trumped their hatred of each other was a shared concern for their obviously distressed mistress.

That said, Carole, angels posing as dog sitters can be found. I had a dog on a stomach tube and even I was able to find someone to watch my dogs while I was out of town. One of the best sources of dog sitters are the vet tech or receptionists at the vet’s office. They tend to be young, unmarried, and always in need of income. Certain pet sitting services also offer specialized help, but typically, “it’ll cost you.” Just make sure you have great house insurance, maybe even an umbrella policy.


Tom Mahoney August 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Just thought you might like to know that a link to this blog post just appeared in the mailing list for the Pennsylvania Wildlife Rehabilitators. Most of them have pets as well as the wildlife that goes through their facilities.


Susi August 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Wow, Tom, thanks for letting me know! Who’d a thunk it!!


Alice Imhof August 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Just came across this and love it. I just entered my ICE contacts, thank you so much.
May I share your article on our website? We are a no-kill, 501 3c non-profit rescue organization, Helping Strays, the Humane Society of Monroe Co, IL.


Susi August 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Of course, Alice. I’m glad it struck you as important enough to share. I have an update I’ll be adding this week, advice given to me by an ER nurse. Stay tuned for that.


Diana Wall August 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm

May I share this with our Standard Schnauzer club members in our newsletter? I’m going to bring this up at our next meeting so we can all exchange info and create ICE on our cells.
Thank you!


Susi August 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Of course, Diana – I’m pleased you liked it enough to share. I have an addendum to add this week, advice given to me by an ER nurse. Stay tuned for that.


Kiki August 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

ICE on your phone would only work if you haven’t put a lock key (assuming a smartphone). Which I do not recommend. Much more likely your phone will be lost or stolen. I think a note attached to your insurance card will be found quickly. Medical personnel will find that card first thing!


Susi August 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

A good point, Kiki, and a few people have weighed in here with the same observation. I’m hoping others have read additional comments that shared the news that there are phone apps which allow you to have as your screen page your ICE contacts. Ultimately, having this information both on a phone and with ID/insurance card is the most prudent. Thanks for writing!


Sue Duffield August 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Bless you, Susi, for writing this. (I heard about it through Corgi-L.) It happened to me. A 38 year old single mom, I left pets at home & four-year-old son at day care and went to work. I had a heart attack that went bad. I had to have emergency open-heart surgery. Luckily my family stepped in to help my son and my animals. (I was able to call my family before the heart attack got too bad.) But you don’t always get the chance to call. The good news is that my two male dogs waited until I got home before trying to kill each other. I somehow pulled them apart and took them straight in for sutures and neutering!

You just never know what’s around the corner. Timely article!


Susi August 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Gasp, Sue, what a story! I’m so glad you’re okay, and very appreciative that you shared your own story here. Stay safe!!!


Mikayla August 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

This artical changed my point of view. Not one time have i left the house and even thought about not coming back. I will defiently be making some changes in my routine and adding ICE contact information to my house, car and purse!

Thank you for opening my eyes


Susi August 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm

A writer (or artist) can get no greater compliment than the one you just gave me:That I helped persuade someone to another point of view. Thank you for that!! But I must be honest and admit that before my bicycle accident, I hadn’t given it much thought at all, either. We live and learn, eh? Mikayla, I’ll be adding an update to this article early next week to share advice I’ve gotten in the comments section. I hope you come back to read the addendum.


Gretchen August 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm

this is an excellent article with one exception. I am a 15 year member of Public Safety as a dispatcher, firefighter, and EMT, and I can tell you first hand that the ICE program is obsolete. it was an excellent idea when the program first came out about 13 years ago, but there have been many obstacles, including cellphone password protection and advanced technology. I still occasionally see things like this on Facebook attempting to promote this program, which sadly only gives people a false sense of security in thinking that the first responders will automatically go to their cell phone to call their emergency contacts. We do not do this, and in fact if we were asked to call somebody on someone’s cell phone, ICE would not be something that we would think of searching for. having an emergency plan for your pet is a very good idea but please do not rely on ICE.


Susi August 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

You’re not alone in making this remark about the ICE idea, and I’m intending to update the article with an addendum mentioning the phone apps and password security protection. I appreciate the feedback, Gretchen!


Gretchen August 18, 2013 at 11:25 pm

reading back over a few of the comments, the emergency ID app sounds like a good idea!


SueStylist August 19, 2013 at 7:19 am

Thanks for the post and it really is a game-changer for me! I’m newly single (again) and the mom of two Corgis – one is paraplegic with DM. This article had some tremendous suggestions – thank you from me – and the pups!!


Susi August 19, 2013 at 10:31 am

I appreciate the feedback, Sue! I’m going to be updating the article today with an addendum at the end based on some comments I’ve gotten from readers about phone security locks and ICE numbers, I hope you have the time to check it out! I’m so sorry to hear about your Corgi with DM. That vicious disease is evident in my breed, too, and I’ve got the DNA kits ready to test my own dogs.


Paul Morrison August 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm


What a great post! I would like to know if I can get permission to print this in our dog club’s newsletter and on my kennel website. This is a must read for so many dog owners. Thanks for putting it out there.


Susi August 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I’m pleased you liked it, Paul, and am happy to give permission for its use in your kennel’s website. May I have that address?


Paul Morrison August 21, 2013 at 4:29 am

Sure, the website it http://www.littlebrownieskennel.com and the club’s website is http://www.greatlakesawsc.org; although I would only want to print the post in our newsletter not on that website. Thanks for your consideration.


Susi August 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thanks, Paul! And thanks again for asking!


Julie Bryant August 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Thank you for this wise and eye-opening article! I have never even thought about what would happen if I didn’t come home to my 2 beloved dogs! I am now going to make a plan, for this is so important to me, to have some peace of mind that they will be taken care of if I cannot.

Kudos for a great article!


Susi August 21, 2013 at 1:29 am

I appreciate the kind words, Julie, and I’m truly happy to have been of some service!


Amélie August 21, 2013 at 5:18 am


This is a GREAT article – things which are obvious, so much obvious that we do not even think about. I ordered for roadIDs and I am making some instructions for crates, home etc.

Will you allow me to translate it into french (and adapt for things to buy if they do prefer to buy in France ?) for my friends who do not speak english ? That would be great.




Susi August 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

I would be honored, Amelie, if you translated the article and appreciate being asked!


Amélie August 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I would do without asking before 😉 and I won’t forget to credit, either 😉


Amélie August 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Sorry, I meant, would NOT do without asking !


Susi August 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I appreciate that, Amelie. I’m still pretty tickled to be translated into French!


Annie August 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This is great information and the kind of thing many people “strategically” avoid facing. Telling a friend about it today, I received the comment, “Well some people OVER prepare.” Wow… You never know. I appreciate this article and your information–thanks!


Susi August 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

You’re very welcome, Annie, and thanks for sharing it with a friend. I’m not sure how one can over prepare for an emergency, but there’s nothing like having one happen to YOU to make you feel differently. It’s a charmed life that never encounters the unexpected.


Debra August 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Great article. I immediately put in my dog walker’s phone # under my ICE contacts. She is sharing this suggestion with her ker clients, many who are single. Thanks!!


Susi August 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I’m delighted you found it helpful, Debra – and btw, I think I owe you and email? I’m such a slug, sometimes…..


Chris August 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

While I have thought of this many times, every time a change phones, I forget….I thank you for this wonderful article and the friend who shared this with me….I will be doing this today!!


Susi August 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I’m delighted to have been of some help, Chris, and appreciate you letting me know that the article was helpful in some way!


Abby August 31, 2013 at 6:39 am

Loved this. I teach disaster planning for you and your pet (disaster starting with a lost pet and ending with natural disasters).

I have two tags on my dogs:
1) Just has “Reward” and what phone numbers to call. No one needs to know the name of my pet unless they are planning on keeping it.
2) “Take me to (insert vet’s name)”, the vet address and phone number and “I can wait here for Mom”. You find my pet and you can take it to the one place where they know it, know the medications it is on and can board it while they try to find me.


Susi August 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

I appreciate that, Abby, and I’m glad to know what you’ve done to protect your dogs. I’ve been considering a companion piece and am picking brains!


CCA.RESCUE April 24, 2015 at 9:07 am

This is a excellent article. Many patients don’t have a plan in place for those left behind. I hope more people will read and share this article.


Susi April 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

Thanks, CCA. The things we learn the hard way, eh?


CCA.RESCUE April 24, 2015 at 9:09 am

An emergency plan applies to ALL dependents.


Susi April 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

Well sure, CCA, though the mute ones are sometimes forgotten.


Leave a Comment

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: