Big San Diego rain and rainfall totals affecting rescued animals

Large San Diego rainfall always invites Lake Helen back. This photo is from a previous storm.

Well, Annie Lennox knew her stuff when she sang, ‘Here Comes the Rain Again!’ It looks like Winter 2011 will be adding to those San Diego rainfall totals. (Could we see a repeat of the December 2010 rainstorm?) For us southern Californian folk, the San Diego rain and is news to us… especially when the media is saying that San Diego could get extremely cold temperatures, strong winds, rain, and snow down to 1,000 feet in the forecast for this weekend!

The animal experts at Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) say that, with a few precautions, you can help to keep your pets healthy, safe, and warm. John Van Zante, PR Manager at the Center, is helpin’ you Socal pet lovers out there with some info and wisdom:

“This is a triple-whammy… The cold temperatures present one danger to any domesticated animals that are left outdoors. The strong winds can break tree limbs and send other potentially dangerous materials flying through the air. Add rain or snow and the danger multiplies. Some people still think that their pets are meant to be outdoors. But since we’ve domesticated them it’s our responsibility to provide food, shelter, and protection from the elements.

“Do you really want a family member to sleep outdoors when the temperature dips? Probably not. The best way to keep your critters warm is to make sure they’re indoors with you.”

For pets that do stay outside, make sure that they have shelter and blankets that they can snuggle in. A safe heat source would also help to keep your pet warm.

Even indoor pets can have a hard time when it gets cold. Van Zante says, “If your pet is on the living room floor and it’s shivering from the cold, it needs your help.  Most pet supply stores sell beds, blankets, sweaters, and wraps for pets.”

Some dogs with thicker coats handle cold weather better than pets with shorter coats. But, like us, they’re used to San Diego climate and may need protection from the cold.

“Many families will take their pets along when they visit the snow in the higher elevations. While your dog may be running and having fun with you, it may be ignoring its cold paws. Be aware of this and give it breaks to warm up, or just leave it home.”

Our maintenance crew is getting ready for big San Diego rainfall totals.

And for HWAC volunteers and staff, there’s the issue of potential flooding. Yeah, we know the drill by now… good ole ‘Lake Helen!’

Our Adoptions department has plans to move dogs out of the kennels and indoors to escape cold and flooding if necessary. Maintenance has inspected the flood pumps and is prepared to put down raised wooden walkways. Our Education and Therapeutic Riding departments as well as the Equine Hospital have confirmed their plans to move horses, goats, sheep, tortoises, etc to higher ground if we need to.

And you know what? To keep our animals safe and dry… it’s worth it. Stay safe, dry, and our of that storm, everyone!



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