December 17, 2011

White Dog and The rest of the White Dog Army was stunned to hear the awful news that fire had sent five members of the Houston Pittie Pack over the Rainbow Bridge and had completely destroyed their family’s home. Our wonderful blogging community’s instant outreach and incredibly loving support has made us proud to be a part of this amazing family. While our tears and tributes and help cannot turn back time to fix things (would that it could), hopefully we can provide solace and understanding and share the pain enough to make the adjustment bearable. Here is the Chip-In link to help: Chip In account.

The White Dog Army has no words to embellish the eloquent and sincere feelings that have been expressed across the blogworld . Others have said clearly and beautifully what is in our hearts. Instead, we would like our tribute to be one of increasing awareness and reminding everyone of just how fragile our control is. It is our desire that through this post, part of the legacy of  Shelby, Guero, Coco Chanel, Lucky and Tiger can be lives saved.

The video clip above from the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree. At five seconds, the fire extends up the tree and black smoke with searing gases streaks across the ceiling. Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire. The sofa, coffee table and the carpet ignite prior to any flame contact. Within 40 seconds "flashover" occurs - that's when an entire room erupts into flames, oxygen is depleted and dense, deadly toxic smoke engulfs the scene. The point is not the Christmas tree, it is how quickly the room fills with smoke that makes vision impossible. Imagine the disorientation for humans and pets as you try to navigate through the heat, and noise (house fires are VERY noisy) and total darkness. Panic is avoidable. 40 seconds…less than a minute FROM THE START OF THE FIRE to realize what is happening, make a plan, gather your loved ones, and get out. Try it…blindfold yourself and attempt to save yourself and your loved ones…it is nearly impossible without the heat and noise and fear. Imagine the real thing.

Here are some things you can do right now, don’t put it off, to increase your chances.

·        In a window on EVERY SIDE and at every level of your house place an outward facing decal or note alerting firefighters that there are pets inside; include the number of pets. Make the Pet Rescue Stickers obvious, your pets’ lives are at stake. Make sure the information is accurate. There is no sense to risk someone’s life to save a pet that no longer lives with you.

·    Know where your pet’s comfort zones are (where they go when they are scared or sick).
  • Let a neighbor know about each family member that occupies your home including your pets. Tell them where they are and where they have a tendency to hide when afraid. I’m sure they won’t mind, especially when you return the favor. Better yet, give them a nicely written sheet with the info so they won’t have to remember at a time of crisis.
  • For each of your pets, make a flier with a photo and description. Keep them in your glove box or somewhere unconnected to the house. It is possible in the panic and chaos of the fire that your pets that get out might run away in terror. The fliers provide instant information to get people search for the runner.
·    Have training drills so your pet learns to come to you WITHOUT QUESTION when you give the command. (it is hard but can be done…and must be practiced frequently).
  • Have an emergency escape plan for the entire family and practice that plan periodically. Everyone can use a refresher course now and then. Give everyone a specific duty and make sure that includes someone to be responsible for the family pet, however, no human life should be put in danger. Only 23% have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. A well thought-out plan can ensure your family can escape quickly and safely. Don’t think elaborate escape plans. Think caveman solutions. Grab the lamp and smash out the window toss your pet through the window and keep moving. Forget leashes and gathering more than one pet at a time. He stands a better chance surviving the fall than if you spend precious moments struggling with a panicked pet.
  • Don’t forget that an animal that is in a crate can’t make a run for it. His fate would definitely be in a hero’s hands. Make sure the location and number of crates is well known and is clearly marked on Rescue Stickers: X Number of Crated Animals Unable to Escape in This Room.
  • Listen to your pet. If your pet is acting strange in the middle of the night or during the day, get up and investigate. Your pet counts on you to take care of him/her, let them return the favor.
  • Don’t stop for anything. There is nothing more precious than your life.
The White Dog Army grieves with the rest of our community over the losses of The Pittie Pack. Our heart breaks knowing that heroic efforts were made to lead all to safety. We pray that no one ever has to live through the hellishness our friends in Houston have experienced. And ask the Universe to grant comfort to this family during this catastrophic time.


Nola said...

These are great tips and such a terrible terrible thing to happen to open our eyes
Dachshund Nola

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

We've been struggling since we learned of the horrors in Houston -

Mom is still numb -

and khan't get Shelby out of her head -

We know there is some reason fur this - some lesson -

But it hurts so much -

The only saving grace is seeing the green paper$ being sent fur them -

Each time we look at the ChipIn, Mom smiles - and tears at the same time -


bichonpawz said...

These tips will be very helpful for everyone. We, too, are stunned by this awful tragedy. So very sad. We are glad to see that people are helping in any way that they can. Thank you for your post today. Sending along blessings and our condolences on the loss of your friends.
Chloe and LadyBug and their mama, Jeanne

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I am so sad for Sandra and her family.
Tears fall and fall.
We are all family, and we feel so helpless. Yet we are able to "pitch in", but it does not stop the hurt Sandra feels.
When someone hurts- we hurt too.
Your words are so well said.
Thank you

KB said...

So sad that I cannot even find words...

Random Felines said...

we are so very sad for them. Fire is the one thing that mom worries about the most since she really isn't sure she could catch all of us in time - she has large carriers upstairs, but she is sure we would run and hide.... it is so very scary....

Ginger Jasper said...

The news was so sad and how they must be hurting. I am stopping by to say thank you for caring and visiting me while I am ill.. Hugs GJ xx

Mr. Pip said...

We have been in a state of shock since hearing the news on Friday morning and still keep hoping it is all a terrible mistake. It just seems so wrong, unfair, and cruel that such a tragedy could happen - such loss for a family that has given so much and for dogs, like Shelby who had overcome so much, to meet such a terrible fate. I still just can't believe it ...

Mr. Pip said...

P.S.: The tips are wonderful. Thank you!

Bailey Be Good! said...

These are WONDERFUL tips!! Thank you so much for sharing them.

Such a sad time. We keep the Kissa-Bull family in our thoughts and prayers.

Woofs & hugs, <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

Sagira said...

We were in shock with the news. :(

Thank you for sharing the great tips.