Pet Emergencies

I thought that I would bring up an issue that we all may face one day. A few years back we were looking after a dog in England. He managed to open a door to a laundry room and climbed up on a counter and ate a bag of fudge. My wife knowing that chocolate consumed in large quantities in dogs can be fatal became alarmed. Once he started showing signs of distress we started looking for a twenty four hour vet. This happened in the evening. The only one that we could find available was fifty kilometers away in Bristol and the owners were over seas. We rushed the dog to the emergency facility. First time that I had driven on the left side of the road at night let alone in a City. The dog survived and we picked him up two days later. The owners were understanding and grateful. They hadn’t told us about his ability to open doors. He a
So was able to get into a Grandmother’s apartment next door.
Then last week I was looking after two dogs and a cat in a small mountain town herein Washington. A wildfire started to grow in the area and I had to evacuate with the pets. The evacuation was mandatory. Fortunately the fire never reached the property, but one never does. Given the location it was difficult to reach the owners and since the highway was closed due to the fire they had a five hour drive ahead of them once I did reach them. Anyway this is why it’s Always good to have backup plans in case of unforeseen emergencies and other contact telephone numbers. After doing dozens of sits over the years through THS unforeseen things may eventually happen.


Hi Dennis, absolutely it’s always worth having a Plan B, back up plan one agreed with the owner who will be more familiar with local procedures and emergency plans and will certainly know the area and facilities better than those new to the area, or at least they should and perhaps their sitter’s questions will prompt them to find out and this could also be very significant for them.

With pet emergencies the 24/7 Vet Line, which is included in owner’s membership and which sitters have access to while on the sit is your go to pet care service in the absence of access to the pet’s own veterinarian.

iI is triage of course but the professional advice can make the difference between being at a loss to know what to do and making the right decision for pets, owners and sitters.

PS: (image) That sky looks awesome but very scary knowing what is causing the sky to glow, we are glad you and the pets were safe.

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I knew you exactly what to do and had all of the necessary information. The problem was delayed communication with the owners due to them being in a remote area. I had a contact number for a relative in case it was necessary. The first emergency had a few years before we had as much experience as we do now. As it turned out we were fortunate in that we made the right decision and took immediate action that probably saved the dog’s life. The owners were very grateful. It’s always a bit more stressful, when in that case you are in a foreign country.


Good work, Dennis.

This is why we ask sitters to have a car and why we have a large flight crate on standby in the garage. We’re not far from the nearest towns, but have previously had wildfires and a volcanic eruption to deal with and we’re in a rural enough location that if you don’t have transport, the consequences could be terrible, both for sitters and for our animals.

Sometimes the worst-case scenario does actually come to pass!


Wow Dennis, now these are some stories. It certainly sounds like you were quick on your feet and knew exactly how to cope in these highly stressful situations. Well done you for being so well prepared. Had I been one of these owners I would have felt reassured knowing that you were captaining the ship.

To reiterate what Angela has said, the 24/7 vet line is fantastic. I have used it on a few occasions when I have been unsure whether or not I need to take my own cat in, especially after hours. They are incredibly helpful and understanding and saved me from my frantic Googling.

I hope you have some well-deserved relaxation on the cards next.

All the best

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@Dennis - Well done x 2.
I try to anticipate potential difficulties. On a recent sit in fire country in Calif the HOs were very specific about potential fire evacs and the possibility of power cuts if there were windy days.
I create a listing in my contacts list for all sits - phone numbers, addresses. And I add emergency contact and vet info in the notes field.


We have a wonderful repeat house sit with a wonderful dog in a lovely waterfront home in two weeks thank you.

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