This week we were huddling in our safe place, along with several other midwestern states, as the storms rolled through. Since we don’t have a basement, it’s always tricky to figure out where we should go. To the tiled shower off the master bedroom? To the closet under the stairs, which houses all of our tools since we also don’t have a garage? Nowhere seems exactly safe.
Our friends had texted that we could join them in their basement. Which immediately prompted a question from my 8 year old – what about our dogs? can they go too?
Well, since our friends have a cat, a dog and a hamster, we didn’t even ask. My quick answer was no – our 80 pounds of pooches wouldn’t fit and probably would try to snack on their pets. Not a reassuring answer for the kids.
This is a stressful choice for many families. I immediately thought of friends and family who are in wheelchairs – how do you get them in your safe place? What necessities do you bring with you? We had time to plan this since we were on high alert all day and the storms didn’t hit until after 4pm. But it brings back a basic question – who do you gather in your safe place?
As usual, we decided to stay home, and did a last minute clean out of the closet under the stairs so that all four of us humans, and the 2 dogs, could all fit without sitting on something sharp and dangerous. We were quite a sight – bike helmets on, dogs panting on our laps, sitting on top of a mound of stuffed animals that my 6 year old insisted on bringing. We were lucky. Only hail passed through our neighborhood. All of our friends and family were safe.
If the storms had been worse we may have needed to find a basement. What then? How difficult would it be to look at your pets and leave not knowing if you’d see them again?
Almost 14 years ago a tornado came through our neighborhood – we were living only a block from where we live now. My husband and I were at work, both safe, but our house and area did suffer some damage. It took hours to get home, driving up and down streets blocked with fallen trees. All I could think of at the time – long before children – was what happened to our dogs? We had a doggy door and fenced in yard so who knew what the dogs did or where they went. And they definitely heard and saw a lot. Our shed was destroyed, part of our fence was ripped down, and sidewalk and trees were ripped out of the earth beside our house. I’ll never forget running into the house calling “Cato! Solo!” and seeing 2 terrified dogs running at me, jumping and licking my face. What did they think when they heard the freight train sounds rolling over our house?