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Caring for Your Pet’s When You Can’t: Tips for pet owners from firsthand experience

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I recently received a call from a lovely woman named Hazel Mortensen – she was looking for a dog groomer in her hometown of Solvang. The groomers I know personally, primarily cover Ventura County – such as Aloha Dog Grooming – so I wasn’t much help, but the conversation then changed to dog behavior and training; needless to say we immediately hit it off, sharing our passion for helping dogs – especially rescue -, believing in the same approach for training dogs using positive reinforcement, and the importance of being a responsible dog owner.

Before relocating to the Solvang area, Hazel worked many years at the Orange County animal shelter where she witnessed people relinquishing pets who had belonged to a relative that either passed away or had to move into a nursing home. Regrettably, this is one scenario that is all to common in most communities.

Well, it seems that one of Hazel’s biggest fears of wondering “What would happen to my dog if something should happen to me?” came true. Widowed, living on her own, she became ill and had to be taken to the hospital. Thankfully, the fire chief reassured Hazel that he would personally take her dog Penny to her friends place in Solvang. Phew! Now that’s is great service!

This unfortunate incident inspired Hazel to develop tips for helping people prepare for the care of their pets. She has written articles and developed forms for people to hang on their refrigerator/kitchen/bathroom so in case something should happen, the emergency crew who arrived would know what to do for the animals in the home. I think this is brilliant and commend her for taking the time. The form she created is available at the senior centers in Solvang and Buellton. With her permission I have created a list based on Hazels, adding my own inquisitive canine spin. Please feel free to copy-paste this one for your own home, or a loved-ones home, should something happen:

Pet & Owner Emergency Information Sheet:

  • Your name:
  • Your Address:
  • Your Contact Phone:
  • Total # of people in household: List each
    • Name:
    • Age:
    • Gender:
    • Disability (if any):
    • Medical History:
    • Medication(s):
      • Name of med:
      • Dosage/Frequency:
      • Location where medication(s) are kept:
  • Emergency Contact Information:
    • Doctor, including name/number/location:
    • Emergency Contact Person(s):
      • Name/number/relationship:
  • Total Number of Pets on Property:
  • Total Number of Pets by Pet:
    • Dogs (inside/outside):
    • Cats (inside/outside):
    • Birds (inside/outside):
    • Horses (where located):
    • Other (inside/outside):
  • List each pet to include:
    • Name:
    • Species
    • Breed:
    • Gender:
    • Age:
    • Illness(es):
    • Current medication(s):
      • Name of medication:
      • Dosage/time per day
      • Location where medication(s) are kept:
  • Veterinarian contact information: Name, city, address, phone:

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