Kids & Pets
July 8, 2020
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Taking care of animals during a PG&E outage

By: Mickey Zeldes
October 18, 2019

My house was in the area that PG&E said was going to have electricity turned off last week.  When I heard that all I could think about was how would I heat my foster kittens bottles?  Not, what would I eat?  How would I cook?  Do I have enough flashlights and batteries (I didn’t)?  In my thinking the microwave became the biggest thing I would miss.  Is that normal?

Actually, I feel rather fortunate, and spoiled, in that I’ve never had to deal with a power outage of more than a day.  I’m not even sure I fully grasped the whole situation of what would be affected.  You hear about these places that have no power or water for days, or even weeks after a disaster and I try to imagine what that would be like and how I would cope in that situation. Not all that well, I’m afraid.  We do have a propane grill that we could use to cook and I have since bought more batteries, but I’m still untested as our power is still on.

Funny that it was the kittens that worried me most in this situation.  Fortunately they were just big enough to not be dependent on their heating pad.  The rest of my pets I figured would be fine.  We had plenty of kibble and they could all share a can of wet food so no special preparations needed there.  They don’t mind being in a dark house and the dog certainly wouldn’t mind a walk by flashlight!  Nope, I wasn’t worried about them and figured they would hardly notice the absence of power; although the house would probably seem quieter without the radio on.  Of course since the whole area was not being affected I could just give the kittens to another foster family for the few days, but that would not be my first choice.

But enough about me personally!  The staff has been discussing what the shelter would do in case of a power outage.  The city is getting us a small generator so that all our medications wouldn't be lost.  Other than that we are pretty much left on our own to make things work.  I bought my employees headlamps so they could have hands-free light to clean by – for some reason they weren’t as appreciative as I expected!  Since it would be unusual for the entire county, or even city, to lose power we would put out a plea for laundry help so that we could continue to offer the animals a fresh bed as needed and have rags to clean with.  If you haven’t liked our Facebook page, please do so we can reach you in a pinch.  The hardest part is that all our animals records are computerized and that won’t be on the generator most likely.  So doing impounds, redemptions and adoptions would have to be done the old fashioned way – on paper!!  That’s a very foreign concept for some of the younger staff!

Do you have a plan in place?  Be sure to include your pets!  Buy extra water and pet food to have on hand.  Make sure you have plenty of any medications they are on.  This is when it’s convenient to have a dog, and cat too, that is crate trained.  Makes it much easier to travel and stay in hotels or with friends if your pet has his safe crate to stay in.  Make deals with friends out of the immediate area – you can go to them and they can come to you if that is ever needed.  Having a plan in place will at least help you not panic and give you the confidence that you can weather a short outage.  

Upcoming Events

Bark After Dark – tickets are going fast!  Join us in the dog-gone best fundraiser around and support the Animal Shelter League’s life-saving medical fund and other proactive animal-assistance programs in our community.  Bark after Dark is an Italian dinner and silent/live auction on Nov. 2, 6:30-10 p.m. at the RP Community Center.  Advanced tickets are just $35/person and are available at or at the shelter.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at