Disaster Preparedness

Be prepared in an emergency or disaster.

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Plan for your pet

Pets are more than just animals; they’re important members of our families! While September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored annually by FEMA, it doesn’t hurt to prep any time of year. We never know whatever Mother Nature might have in store.

No matter what type of animal you may have, their safety is important during a disaster. Having a plan in place ahead of time will cause less difficulty, stress, and confusion when and if an emergency occurs. We’ve put together some resources to include your pets in your family’s disaster and emergency plans so everyone can be prepared for the unexpected.

1. Updated Identification

If your beloved pet happens to get separated from you during an emergency, it’s important to always have their identification up to date. This is the quickest way to be reunited with them. Make sure your pet’s microchipped, wearing ID tags on their collar or harness, and that all information is up to date and correct. Almost any animal can be microchipped, and many places have easy and affordable tag machines that design and print an animal ID tag right on the spot. In fact, we have one right in our Adoption Center lobby for your convenience!   In a pinch, an easy way to ID your pet is to write your phone number in sharpie on their collar.

2. A Buddy & A Backpack

During an emergency, having a close neighbor, friend, or relative ready to help care for or evacuate your pet should you be unavailable to do so is invaluable. Make sure this backup caretaker for your pet is familiar and comfortable with the animal (and vice-versa), and that they are aware of your pet’s feeding schedule, medications, behaviors, and habits. You should also have prepared an emergency kit or backpack for your pet that you can leave with this caretaker that includes all necessary items your pet may need.

3. An Emergency Kit

Just like you would for yourself and your family, it’s important to have an animal emergency kit packed (a backpack works great!) in case you need to evacuate suddenly. Having necessary items that you can grab and either take with you or give to a friend who is caring for your pet will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Necessary items you should pack are:

  • Food & Water
  • Medications and Prescriptions
  • A Crate or Carrying Case
  • Copies of Vaccination & Veterinary Records
  • Animal First-Aid Kit
  • Backup Leashes & Collars w/ ID Tags
  • Recent Photo(s) of Your Pet
  • Grooming Supplies (brushes, nail trimmers, wipes, etc.)
  • Familiar Toys, Treats, Bedding, & Other Items
  • Food & Water Bowls
  • Poop Bags, Cat Litter, Shavings, Puppy Pads, etc.
  • Your Contact & Veterinary Information

4. Pet Friendly Accommodations

Calling motels, hotels, boarding facilities, and even vet offices outside of your immediate area to see if they can house pets can be a huge help during an emergency. Call around and keep a list of all pet-friendly accommodations handy in case your family needs to evacuate. Ask what pets they take, if there is a size, number, or weight restriction, if policies could be changed during an emergency, etc. Once the list is complete, if there ever is an emergency, you can call ahead and make a reservation as soon as you think your family might have to leave. Here in Maine, most Chambers of Commerce or local Visitors Centers keep a list of pet friendly accommodations. You can visit their website or call and ask for a visitors’ guide to be mailed to you.

5. Local Contacts

No matter the type of emergency, it’s always important to have updated and accurate contact information for your local first responders (911 and non-emergency contact information), animal shelters (like AWS if you live in York County), and animal control officers (usually reached through the police non-emergency number). Bookmarking their websites and following them on social media is a great way to keep in touch during an emergency. These points of contact could help in a multitude of ways by providing information, safety, or resources for you and your pet during a disaster. Your County Animal Response Team (CART), part of your county’s emergency management agency may also offer resources. In times of great emergency, AWS partners with local emergency organizations to provide a safe haven for pets when their people must evacuate and enter a local emergency shelter.


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The cats and dogs at AWS are ready for another friendly competition this Giving Tuesday on November, 28! Who will win?This year's competition centers around which species is the Coziest Companion: Cats or Canines? Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, follow along on our social media pages as the pets and people of AWS try to convince you which of their favorite species deserves your support as the coziest, cuddliest animal. 

Remember, the team who raises the most funds on Tuesday will be crowned this year’s Giving Tuesday winner. Most importantly, all funds raised in this friendly competition support pet care here at AWS. We look forward to seeing which pet comes out on top as the coziest companion! 

(psst! You can help your favorite team get ahead by donating early on our website. Just follow the link tree in our profile to the Giving Tuesday page!)
Does your dog or cat need an updated rabies vaccine or microchip? Come visit us on Saturday, December 2 from 9am - Noon to receive either or both for FREE! We're here to help the people and pets of our community stay happy and healthy! 

This event is FREE, but we ask that you please register in advance on our events page so we can establish a timeframe for the day.
Humans aren't the only ones who enjoy a good Thanksgiving feast! We love sharing festive foods with all our furry friends at AWS! 🍂

𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐟𝐟 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟. 𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬. 𝐖𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬, 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝!