The Best Christmas Present You Can Give Your Pet

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In 2005-2006, pet owners spent $45 million on toys for their dogs and $29 million on cat toys. PetSmart, with 850 stores nationwide, says that it has stocked one thousand holiday gifts. Presents for pets can range from diamond-studded collars to beds, clothes, spas, massages, and specialty food items. The authors of a new book that focuses on keeping animals safe (RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster by Allen and Linda Anderson) express the belief that saving animals' lives by having a pet emergency evacuation kit and carrier for each animal in your home will be the best pet gift of all for this holiday season.

In 2005-2006, pet owners spent $45 million on toys for their dogs and $29 million on cat toys. PetSmart, with 850 stores nationwide, says that it has stocked one thousand holiday gifts. Presents for pets can range from diamond-studded collars to beds, clothes, spas, massages, and specialty food items. As the authors of a new book that focuses on keeping animals safe (RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster by Allen and Linda Anderson, New World Library, September 2006, 342 pages, 16 pages color photos, index, resources, ISBN: 1577315448, $16.95, http://www.rescuedsavinganimnals.net), express the belief that saving animals' lives by having a pet emergency evacuation kit and carrier for each animal in your home will be the best pet gift of all for this holiday season.

The incidences of house fires increase during the winter holidays due to millions of electrical decorations and candles as well as the tradition of cooking for family and friends. This is why FEMA reminds people to have a personal fire safety plan and escape route for their homes. Allen Anderson says, "Most people and communities haven't thought about it, but with two out of three households having a family pet, it is now vital for fire safety to include being able to evacuate quickly with your pets. The suggestions in our book help to save the lives of the precious creatures in our homes."

The Andersons are authors of a successful series of books about the benefits of the human-animal bond. Their new book RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster, available in bookstores nationwide, offers life-saving suggestions and experiences from everyday heroes who rescue animals, leaders of animal organizations, and disaster survivors. In the course of writing and researching the book, the Minnesota authors became experts on how to keep animals safe through the holiday season and year-round. The authors demonstrated pet emergency essentials on a recent television interview they did for CBS affiliate station WCCO TV in Minneapolis. To view the segment, go to http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=21386@wcco.dayport.com.

In addition to being prepared for house fire evacuations, since an estimated 91 percent of Americans live in a moderate to high natural disaster or terrorism zone, the Andersons say that emergency planning must include animal family members. Linda Anderson says, "This type of preparation takes about an hour of a person's time. We hope people will never need it, but if they ever have to leave their homes within minutes or evacuate due to a disaster, they will be so grateful that they prepared to safely take their pets with them."

The Andersons pose questions to people who love and want to protect their pets:

1. Are you prepared to get out of your home fast by having pet carriers, leashes, medications, and a pet emergency kit within easy reach? Are you ready for human and animal family members to survive up to seventy-two hours before rescuers can arrive if there is a disaster?

2. Do you have your pet microchipped and able to be identified even if the animal's collar comes off? Is microchip and veterinary information for your pet in a waterproof container? Have you updated microchip registration if you moved or changed phone numbers?

3. Do you have recent photos of your pet and a description of distinguishing features in your car or outside the house?

4. Do you have a list of safe places and pet-friendly hotels to evacuate with your pet? Is the list in the glove compartment of your car or with your pet emergency kit?

5. Have you made arrangements for fast pet evacuation if you are away from your home and unable to do it yourself? Do your neighbors know you have pets and where they stay when you aren't home?

6. Is your local fire department trained by a veterinarian for giving emergency medical treatment to animals and evacuating pets from your home in a fire? Do you have a recently dated ASPCA pet rescue alert sticker posted on the entry of your home?

In interviews and presentations the Andersons explain how to assemble the components of a pet emergency kit. This then becomes a personal holiday gift for a pet or to give to friends and family who have pets. Armed with the knowledge from two hundred interviews the authors did for RESCUED, they share what people who rescued animals after Hurricane Katrina learned about saving pets from disasters. Allen Anderson says, "Our book shows every pet owner how to turn the Gulf Coast tragedy into a lesson for the future. Preparing, planning and being proactive in keeping your pet alive during a house fire, emergency evacuation, or any disaster is the best Christmas present you can give the animals you love.

Recent Reviews of RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster:

"(RESCUED) is one of the most inspiring accounts in print -- besides offering action and adventure, it offers pet owners important tips on keeping pets safe."--Midwest Book Review

"Deeply moving stories and up-to-date information about this very important and often ignored aspect of natural disasters. Highly recommended! Award winner of Animals/Pet category, the Best Books 2006 National Book Awards" --Jeff Bowen, USABookNews.com

"Heartrending. Practical." --Publisher's Weekly

"Must Read!!!!" --Today's Books, Public News Service Reports to the Media on Book Publishing Industry

"The volunteers who waded into the devastation left in Hurricane Katrina's wake came in all sizes and shapes and redefined our notion of hero." - Pamela Crossland, Booklist, American Library Association

"Local authors Linda and Allen Anderson (also writing instructors at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis) turned their horror into action, writing the compelling book Rescued: Saving Animals From Disaster. Through emotionally wrenching, firsthand accounts of animal rescue and reunion, the book examines how the hurricanes of 2005 changed the way Americans view animal rescue." -- Deborah Caulfield Rybak, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Every pet owner and animal lover should read the Andersons' book and develop a private plan for the safety of their non-human companions." -- Kathy DeSantis, Awareness Magazine

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