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How we need to prepare

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Sadly, one of the first casualties when money starts to get tight is our pets. Starting with big dogs originally bought to make the owner look good and macho suddenly becoming unwanted because they consume so much down to animals with specialised food requirements and eventually, all pets, all types of animals are abandoned and the amount of animals dumped by the side of the road, thrown in rivers, flushed away or given to shelters increases dramatically during an economic downturn. Sad but true and we call ourselves a nation of pet lovers.

If the situation were to deteriorate into a survival situation the only animals most of us would have would be utility animals, food or helpers, no pets. Pets would be the reserve of rich people. Every animal would have to earn its keep by being foodstuff or in another way by being a working animal.

Unfortunately, at the moment we have a different situation, many of us have pets and so the decision on what to do will be different and we need to consider that. Most of the animals will not be used to fending for themselves; they will be used to humans and will be easy prey for a predator, animal or man. Options are limited, you can either include your pet in your plan and prepare for the eventuality, you can just leave it to fend for itself, you can find someone else to look after it or you can simply euthanase it.

I have a cat who is to lazy to be a proper mouser. Her vet bills and food requirements are minimal but she still costs me money. Money I would like for something else but cannot because I, or more accurately, my daughter, made a commitment by buying a pet. I have included her in my plans because she is one of us. The food she eats is easily stored and I have enough for three years for her which is more than what I have for myself. If you chose this option you should store enough food as you can, not forgetting water. You should research alternative foods to supplement the stored foods and prepare for that and you should understand some basic veterinary techniques for your animal and prepare for that.

If you allow your pet to roam free in the event of a survival situation most pets will simply starve or be killed and eaten by bigger predators. In the meantime however, they will draw attention to your position by howling and crying for food and shelter. In some cases they may even attack you or your family in their hunger. You will be unable to move around without them following you and they will fight to get inside. Unless of course you abandon them far enough away so they cannot get home.

Finding someone else to look after an unwanted pet is difficult enough now. In the event of a disaster then it will be next to impossible unless your pet meets a requirement for the third party. Most pets just look cute which will probably not be enough.

Finally, euthanizing it may be the most humane way of dealing with your unwanted animal. It may even be something you can put in the pot for a bit of fresh meat if you can do it. Just do not tell the kids what happened to Fluffy. There are humane ways to euthanase the animal either way.

Personally, I would cater for my pet. If I can not, for any reason, then I would rather euthanase it humanely than allow it to be terrified and torn to bits by other desperate animals.

So, I have prepared rather than do without my pet but if and when the food stocks start getting low then all bets are off. It may come down to the pets or the kids. It will be a tough choice.

Start thinking about your pets now. Decide what you want to do.

In the meantime, if you are looking at getting a pet then consider a dual purpose pet, one that can be a pet and be useful in a survival scenario. Dogs are the most useful animal we have as pets but not the only ones as, for example, chickens and ducks are becoming popular. I don’t now why they can’t catch sticks at all.

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