A new paradigm

Inevitably, emergency response services encounter the human-animal bond.

That encounter has created a new paradigm in disaster response and recovery

As obvious as it may be to pet owners, emergency response services has learned that, to be successful in their objectives, they cannot view animals simply as inatimate property.

The Human-Animal Bond

A boy and his dog photo

The Magical Relationship

It's a bit like trying to describe the color "red". Words just don't do it..

But it's easy to see and, to some extent, easy to understand.

Not all who own or care for animals have the bond to the same degree, but the overwhelming majority do.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is the benefit humans receive in this relationship.. Few other natural systems provide the opportunity to experience the perfect gift -- one where both parties, the humans and their pets, forget who benefits most.

Until recently, most disaster planning for animals has failed to understand the influence this bond has during a disaster.

As with all improvement, the insights regarding this bond during disasters has come from those regions that have opportunities to practice and learn.

This document gives examples of the human-animal bond during disasters. This bond is the basis for the scenarios being used and it's the cornerstone to the intended learning.

Each individual, group, family, neighborhood and community will experience this bond uniquely. Discovering and adapting to this experience is critical.

There is nothing more important than developing capabilities and enabling individuals for moments when this bond is being challenged.

ife threatening situationaddress the basic question of getting Having capabilities to reliable shelter and care for your pets can go a long way to protecting this bond.

Human or animal life-threatening situations or being faced with the issue of separation, voluntary or otherwise, triggers strong emotions associated with this bond.

Even if individuals having no issue "letting go of the leash" will benefit from understanding, respecting, and planning for the subject of separation.

The Human-Animal Bond (pdf)


The impacts

People will refuse services if it means they would be separated from their pets.

If separated, humans, particularly the young and the elderly, suffer significant impact on public mental health due to the emotions humans feel for their pets.