“I’m tired, every part of my body is sore, my sinuses are screaming at me, and my lungs hurt” says everyone that was in the fire’s way yesterday.
So, yesterday started off as a typical Santa Ana day; hot, windy, and dry dry dry. And during these days everyone in my local networks send out info regarding dog walking in heat, leaving dogs in cars, etc. So I sent out a blurb stating not to leave pets outside in the yard because the winds can blow the fencing down or blow open gates. I truly thought this would be my main care for the day since every Santa Ana episode I’m out looking for pets that got out of blown open fencing….hahahahaha guess not!
Around 11:15am I noticed a tweet about a brush fire near Del Norte High School in a JenLovesPets service community 4S Ranch, near a daily dog walking client Zues. So I notified Charlotte, our Lead Pet Care Specialist since she was headed over there. A short time passed and the fire became quiet a bit larger so I notified Zeus’ dad that I didn’t think the fire was headed his way because he’s east of it and the winds were blowing west but I wanted permission to make certain changes in the house if need be due to air quality if the winds do change. Thankfully for Zues and his dad they were not affected at all.
Thinking the fire would be out soon I went thru my normal routine, and a few hours later listening to KOGO my favorite breaking news radio station I heard part of 4S Ranch and Del Sur was told to evacuate, immediately I thought of my clients in those areas. I called every client in the evacuation zone and asked if they needed help with their pets. All were already packing and getting ready to leave their homes and some were feeling anxious about where to take the furkids. Eventually the evacuation zone reached Santaluz and part of Rancho Penasquitos where I’ve been doing vacation sits and the pet parents were across seas.
My calls resumed in the car since my job now extended to Emergency Evacuations, so as I called clients, I evacuated clients. This is where professionalism and preparedness comes in. I’m occasionally asked “Why should I pay for a quote professional pet sitter when I can get a neighbor or teenager to care for my pets?” The odds are a hobby sitter or teenager will not have the preparedness or know how to handle an emergency like an evacuation.
Some furclients came to my house and some went to my clients’ emergency contacts. For 5 hours I helped evacuate JLP clients. And then I saw a tweet that 92127 & 92129 were being evacuated. OHHHH Crap, that’s me. So I called my husband and told him to get home we may need to leave soon and we have a house full of evacs, plan B soon to commence. Now I’m going into personal and business evac mode, getting the pets stuff ready to go. Only after my husband was on his way did I see a post from San Diego PD saying 92127 & 92129 was an alert only not an evacuation order…whew!
Thank goodness, now I can keep my focus on the clients. Some clients called me worried so I talked them thru the steps for an evacuation order, hopefully I was able to calm them and help them be more empowered. By 6:30pm all JenLovesPets clients were where they needed to be for the evening, I sent out a request for everyone to keep sending positive “watery” thoughts and prayers so that we don’t get evacuated and a few hours later all was well. The orders were lifted.
And this morning most of the furkids are back home, we are all totally exhausted. But more importantly we are all safe. I’m so thankful for my Dwayne, Dishion and Charlotte. The JenLovesPets crew is so awesome and on top of it, ready to spring into action when needed. Our JLP family members aka clients deserve the best!
Preparedness comes from knowledge, training, practice, and usually marks a professional. When looking for a pet sitter or dog walker, remember emergencies happen and you want a professional to be there when needed, or one to at least call and offer support.
A huge shout to San Diego Fire and San Diego Police, thank you so much for your selfless work, and a shout to KOGO, if it wasn’t for Ladona Harvey I wouldn’t have had the information I needed to help my clients while driving around town.
And a bigger shout to all my clients, thank you so much for allowing JenLovesPets to care for your furkids!