Local co-authors write guidebook to avert animal disasters
If your house was on fire and you had to grab and go, would you choose your house pet or your family heirloom?
Scott M. Haskins and Diane L. Stevenett deal with the dilemma in their newly published book, “How to Save Your Pet From a Disaster: The Essential Emergency Preparedness Guide for Feathered Friends and Fur Babies” (10-10-10 Publishing, $30)
The 123-page softcover book is packed with a plethora of useful information in seven chapters that include do’s and don’ts during a disaster, damage control gone wrong, priorities, transportation of pets, communications with others, damage to collectibles and heirlooms caused by pets and special considerations for senior dogs, puppies, birds, reptiles, rabbits and very small animals.
It recently won an international book award as the Best Pet Care Handbook.
Both devout animal lovers, Mr. Haskins and Ms. Stevenett teamed up to write the book because of experiences in their professions. He is the owner of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories in Santa Barbara, and she is an artist.
“In my work as an art conservator, I frequently restore artwork that has been damaged by pets, which is often avoidable,” Mr. Haskins said. “The tie-in between pets and heirlooms is that both are precious and neither can be replaced.”
Pictured on the cover of the book is the author’s wife, Diana Haskins, with three of their Yorkshire terriers — Marabella, Mimzy and Coco.
“Mimsy, who is 15 years old and weighs two pounds, is still alive, and the other two have been replaced with Giovinella, a Bernedoodle, who weighs 50 pounds and is 5 years old,” Mr. Haskins told the News-Press. “Talk about a contrast in size!”
Ms. Stevenett’s dog, Jake — a New Zealand huntaway, which is a cross between a German shepherd, Black Lab and hound dog — was severely injured when his owner’s car was rear-ended in an accident on San Marcos Pass.
Jake was thrown forward from the back of the car and onto the dashboard. The windshield was cracked under his weight.
“Had I known what I know today, I would have been more prepared and could have possibly lessened Jake’s chance of being injured. My research to be better educated and prepared led me to write this guide book,” said Ms. Stevenett. “Jake lived that day, but his injuries caused him health issues and probably contributed to his early death later on.
“There are numerous safety harnesses, travel beds and containment carriers that create a safe environment while traveling.”
Traveling with pets who are loose in a vehicle is especially dangerous, Mr. Haskins emphasized.
“According to the American Automobile Association, more than 80% of dog owners drive with their pets in the car, and more than 84% do not restrain while on the road.
“With the holiday season upon us, many people are traveling with their pets. According to the National Safety Council, if a car crashes at a speed of 25 miles per hour, an airborne dog can develop projectile forces equaling 40 times its weight.
“For example, a German shepherd weighing 75 pounds can impact with a force of 3,000 pounds. This is enough force to be lethal for a driver or passenger and in the least, cause great damage as the pet is thrown through the cabin and, sometimes, out the front windshield.”
Particularly frightening are the statistics regarding children.
“In 2013, 172,000 children were in car crashes with injuries, and the National Highway Safety Administration estimates that of those crashes with children who were injured, more than 80% had pets on board,” Mr. Haskins said.
“It’s not just about the pet.”