Facing Irene with my dog in tow

Published 7:41 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

It seems we’ve faced every sort of threat nature can dish out recently, what with the fire, then the quake and now the hurricane.

It’s these kind of events that, as a pet owner, I never thought about. Sure, I’ve considered what I’d do in case of an earthquake. I could even picture myself diving under the bomb-shelter-like desks at work. But my mental pictures of how a natural disaster would go down rarely included an animal.

Now that I am a pet owner, the recent string of threats has got me thinking about how my reactions will change when you add one 38-pound ball of fur and energy.


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I’m sure Miyagi hasn’t given these recent events much thought, except to be annoyed by my decisions such as limiting his outdoor play during heavy smoke days.

While I was content to stay in the air-conditioned and filtered air, Miyagi would have none of it. We’d go outside, play fetch and after about 10 minutes, he groan and moan as I made him go back inside to get some “fresh” air.

I was at work during the earthquake, but apparently the quake was boring for Miyagi, who would have slept through the tremors if my husband hadn’t leapt to his feet when the walls first began to shake. After my husband woke Miyagi up, the furry Zen master proceeded to yawn and ignore the shaking. Seconds later the quake was over before it really even began and Miyagi was asleep again.

The real challenge, for both of us, will be the hurricane. Should we evacuate? Where can we go with Miyagi? If the power goes out, will we have enough water for us and a dog? While I’ve spent the last few days coming up with solutions for these and other problems, I know what will be bothering Miyagi most today ­— rain.

Miyagi has always had a disgust for rain. Don’t get me wrong, he loves water. The lab part of his mutt pedigree kicks in whenever we get near a body of water. If he’s swimming, he’s happy. But when it comes to rain, he panics. I don’t know if he thinks he’s being attacked by the droplets, but rain is about the only thing that can make him refuse to go outside.

To prepare for weathering Hurricane Irene with a dog, I’ve made sure to buy extra water for Miyagi, packed Miyagi’s extra crate and some dog food in the car in case of evacuation and looked up pet-friendly hotels through petswelcome.com.

But whenever I get worried about what the storm will bring, I find myself picturing Miyagi running outside for a bathroom break. In my mind I see him attempting to dodge the deluge that Hurricane Irene will bring and I can only laugh at the weird antics of my dog. That’s when I remember the best parts of being a dog owner make the stress worth it. No matter how worried I get, Miyagi always makes me feel that everything will be OK as long as I remember to laugh.