Make a “Roadside Rescue Kit”
Be prepared to act when you find an injured or lost pet while traveling. Gather this list of items and keep them in your trunk or in a weather-proof tub in the back of your pickup.
Pets who appear to be dead might not be. Please take a moment from your busy day to pull over, and check for signs of life. If the unfortunate animal is dead, check for ID tags to call the owner and tell them the sad news, so they can stop searching and take possession of the body for burial.
Roadside Rescue Kit List
- Cell phone
- Wallet Card (downloadable), completed with your emergency phone numbers
- Bottled water, 2 qts., leaving room for ice expansion in winter if applicable
- Cat food, 2 qts., in plastic bowl with lid (sample food packets available from some pet stores stay fresh longer)
- Plastic bowl for water to nest with the above
- Squeeze bulb or syringe, to squirt water into a thirsty pet's mouth, if it is too stricken to lap water
- Tarp, plastic, large enough to cover your vehicle seat and back cushion, or to serve as a sling
- Blanket, warm, clean, and tightly woven
- Bandanas, keep several handy for soft restraints, tourniquets, towels, etc.
- Gloves, padded, long-wristed, to protect you from bites and scratches
- Muzzle, soft nylon, to protect you from bites
- Flares or glowsticks, to protect your vehicle from traffic at night or to signal a location
- Flashlight, headlamp style, for hands-free use, batteries removed but in the kit
- Wet wipes
- Small notebook and pencil
- Tote to contain the above (a big kitty litter tote with handle works well)
Tips for Roadside Rescues
Strayed pets will need nourishment. They might not let you approach, but you can leave food and water, and call your local humane authority. A flare may be helpful in signalling the location. Be sure to refill your Roadside Rescue Kit food and water containers.
Injured pets may need more assistance, but take the utmost care when you approach. Gently, slowly, walk toward the pet, talking continually in a soft voice. Avoid direct eye contact. The pet will be very frightened and may react aggressively. Cover the pet with a blanket (not the head), and call your local humane authority or your veterinarian. If the pet struggles to move away from you or growls, stay back until experienced help arrives. Do not give food or water if the injuries appear to require surgery so that anesthesia will be safer for the pet.
Moving injured pets is risky, to them and to you. However, you might decide to accept that risk if the pet appears to need immediate assistance, is a long distance from veterinary care, or the pet appears to be docile.
Take precautions! The pet may bite from fear or pain. Wear gloves. Don't look directly into the eyes. Move gently and slowly. Talk softly. Use the blanket or tarp as a sling, and transport the pet to the nearest veterinarian. Remember to drive safely, slow down for corners, and avoid rough or pitted roads that may make the pet even more uncomfortable.
© 2005-2015 The Sunbear Squad; All rights reserved.
Walkers, bikers, pack a "Sidewalk Rescue Kit"
What is a "sidewalk rescue kit?" It's the scaled-down version of our popular Roadside Rescue Kit for vehicles. Keep these items in your backpack or messenger bag:
- A tiny notebook and pencil for note-taking
- Your mobile phone
- Your filled-out Sunbear Squad Wallet Card
- A bottle of water
- A cheap plastic food storage container with dry cat food inside (both dogs and cats can eat right out of the bowl)
- Another cheap plastic food storage container nested below the above, for giving water
- A tiny flashlight
- A light weight nylon slip-noose lead
- A clean bandanna (in a pinch, can become a towel, a muzzle, a collar, etc.)
- A whistle (to get a lot of attention in an emergency)
- A travel pack of handy wipes
As you travel on foot or bicycle through the day, you have the basics needed to help a dog or cat who needs water, food, or rescue.
A construction worker driving to a Wisconsin restaurant on a sub-zero day noticed a dog sitting on train tracks, and noticed the dog hadn't moved when he passed again an hour and a half later, so he pulled over. Jeremy Majorowicz figured something was wrong.
And he was right. As he approached, he noticed that the dog was shivering hard. He approached and offered a bite of muffin to the dog, which was refused. He tried to call the dog to him, but the dog didn't attempt to move.
So, being a Good Samaritan for animals, Majorowicz phoned law enforcement, and animal control was summoned as well. In the frigid afternoon air, a team of men puzzled over the dog. Police officer Tim Strand guessed that the dog may be frozen to the train tracks, and he lifted up the tail. Sure enough, the dog was frozen fast.
Strand freed the dog by yanking him up by the tail, leaving a lot of hair in the ice. The dog yelped, but he was free!
Ten minutes later, a train came through.
The dog was taken to Chippewa County Humane Association, and was immediately treated for hypothermia and named "Ice Train." He was later adopted.
"I have two dogs myself, so I didn't want to leave the dog if there was something wrong," Majorowicz said.