Local Woman Helps Provide Emergency Supplies for Pets
Ines De Pablo wanted to do something to help after seeing so many pets abandoned during Hurricane Katrina
After seeing and hearing about the death and abandonment of thousands of pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, animal lover, Ines De Pablo knew she had to do something to help.
"The situation there was so poorly managed and so many people had to leave their animals behind," said De Pablo. "Even people with service animals had to leave them behind."
Calling on her background in crisis and emergency management, De Pablo set out to develop pet safety and first aid products and educational programs that would help prevent the same thing from happening in the future when disaster strikes. "You wouldn't leave your children or family members behind, so why should your pets have to be separated from you, they are your family," said De Pablo.
DePablo's own dogs, Gypsy and Mayday, both rescues, serve as spokes-dogs for her company, Wag'N Enterprises and as live models for the pet first aid classes she teaches at Bark N Bubbles in Herndon and other locations around the area.
"Our mission is to offer pet parents and first responders the necessary gear, supplies and training to effectively mitigate, prepare and respond to emergencies that impact pet health and safety," says De Pablo.
To fulfill that mission, De Pablo has created an innovative line of pet safety gear including pet evacuation kits filled with all the necessities for your pet in case of emergency—leash, collar, dog toy, flashlight, dust masks, a whistle and dehydrated raw dog food.
The kit also includes alert stickers for the home to indicate pets are inside in case of fire, and a unique auto-alert tag which indicates when the car temperature reaches 85 degrees and reads "Extreme Heat Get Out immediately."
De Pablo's other products include pet passports—one version for dogs and another for cats and ferrets—which enables pet owners to store all pertinent information about their pets when traveling, boarding, or to have on hand for emergencies.
Named after her dog, the "Mayday" first aid kit includes everything from tongue depressors to a thermal blanket, and incident report pages. Two dollars from the sale of each "Well Fed" kit benefits the Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign.
"Crate N Tents" provide pet owners or emergency personnel with quick and easy pop-up tent, which is also fire and water resistant and features see through windows. This would certainly come in handy in any emergency or evacuation situation when time is of the essence.
In addition to pet safety products, De Pablo also teaches first aid classes, pet CPR and an "O2 Fur Life" 2 hour workshop to teach first responders how to use the pet oxygen masks she offers through her Wag'N 02 Fur Life program, which donates oxygen masks to fire departments.
"When you see a pet rescue in the news involving a fire department, it's usually the old cat up in the tree story," said De Pablo. She read an article about how a firefighter was using oxygen masks that were meant for veterinary use out in the field when fighting fires, and thought more fire departments could use them to save lives.
Since its inception in early 2008, the "02 Fur Life" program has provided nearly 1200 pet oxygen masks to over 300 fire, EMS and police departments across the U.S. and Canada. Locally, the D.C. fire department, Sterling volunteer fire department, and the Germantown volunteer fire department in Maryland have all received masks through the program.
Fairfax County fire department carries pet oxygen masks, which came in handy when one of their own had his house catch on fire because his dog named Sparky was trying to reach a box of dog biscuits left on the stove top and accidentally turned on the stove with his paw.
Firefighter, Glenn Ross had just gotten to work and heard his own address come across the radio. He raced home to find his two dogs, Sparky and Brownie on the neighbor's lawn unconscious. Thanks to the oxygen masks the dogs were revived and fully recovered.
Oxygen masks are also available to individual pet owners who need to provide oxygen therapy for newborn puppies or their mother, elderly pets, and pets with other special needs requiring oxygen. The oxygen tank must be purchased elsewhere.
The newest product, designed by De Pablo is a clever pet first aid bandana, the only one of its kind on the market, featuring printed information on topics such as cold injuries, heat exhaustion and heat stroke first aid; bleeding first aid; choking management; insect, spider, and snake bite first aid; burns; seizure response; and the ABCs for Cats and Dogs diagram, which covers opening the airway, rescue breathing and CPR techniques.
De Pablo offers free downloadable "No Pets Left Behind" evacuation cards for pet owners to post for first responders to let them know that all animals have been evacuated already from the home and to alert them to any potential dangers in the home.
There is also a free "Live Animals Left Behind" card in case animals can not be taken with their owners during evacuation indicating what types of animals were left, the time of day, last feeding time, accessible food, water, etc.