Welcome to December 2021 NewsNotes
It is really, finally, feeling like holiday time!

We’re able to get together, reconnect, breathe, and rustle up some holiday cheer. Yet, again, nature has thrown some big hits, and there are many whose homes, families and lives been drastically changed.

To help, we continue our tradition of sharing a Giving Guide to support relief funds, responders and resources. On the lighter, we’ve included a 2021 Preparedness Gift Checklist.
And, to help everyone keep pets and equines safe and healthy during holiday gatherings and adventures, we’re sharing a recently published article with important reminders, tips and resources.

Looking ahead, 2022 will bring a calendar loaded with trainings for animal disaster volunteers. To make sure you don’t miss early January opportunities, check the websites and/or Facebook pages of your local and regional Community Animal Response Teams, (CART). Look for their Volunteer Training page. You can also check with your county animal services agency. The HALTER Project website is an excellent place to learn about training guidelines, requirements and resources for volunteers and other animal responders.
On January 8, 2022, from 9 -12, we are sponsoring the first Animal Responder Resilience Workshop. This program, the first of its kind, will be led by Susan Farren, Founder and Program Director of nationally-recognized First Responder Resilience, Inc.
This workshop will be offered at no cost to frontline responders, including veterinarians, to animal emergencies and disasters. The workshop can be attended in-person in Sonoma, CA, or virtually. We’ll send details and registration info soon.
The holiday season is here, and we are finally able to share good times again with family and friends. For many, holiday socializing often includes our animals. To keep everyone happy and healthy, we’ve compiled a refresher list (and some new tips) to help you plan for safe outings and celebrations.
Take a few minutes to read these holiday animal safety tips, reminders, and resources. Feel free to share this newsletters with others.
Safe Travels:
  • Update vaccinations 
  • Make sure pets are microchipped
  • Keep collars with ID tags on 
  • Make sure pets are traveling in the most secure way possible; carriers, harnesses, pet seat harnesses.
  • Take time to review safer items with home and Animal-sitters 
When Fun Turns into Fright—Holiday Animal Hazards
There are lengthy lists of common foods and ingredients that are dangerous and sometimes lethal to pets. (See the “Resources” box). Watchfulness is key to keep the holidays happy for all. Here are a few of the “Danger to Pets” categories:
  • Fatty foods! Don't give pets table scraps! And keep an eye on your guests - remind them not to “treat” the dogs and cats!
  • Sweets, chocolate, caffeine, many flavorings, and alcoholic beverages. Cats may want to dive into eggnog but don’t let them.
  • Toys and decorations, tinsel, ribbon, sparkly lights, plastic objects, glass ornaments. 
  • Holiday plants, poinsettias, conifer needles.
Outdoors with Animals
Planning to go for winter walks with dogs, or trail riding with your equine? Early rains have been a blessing for some, but have also created hazards to watch out for.
  • Mushrooms!!
  • Algae 
  • Fallen and leaning trees, tangled trail-side branches 
  • Slick trails, hidden mud holes, quicksand 
  • Beach hazards, sneaker waves, high surf and wind 
Know Who & How to Call for Help
Knowing what to do in an animal emergency, who to call for help, and how to assess and stabilize your pet or equine, can be lifesavers. As discussed previously in this column, the North Bay is now blessed with several local fire departments, Search and Rescue volunteers and veterinarians with Large Animal Rescue skills and equipment. (See the “Resources” box for link to a PDF "What to Do in an Animal Emergency".)
We are grateful to see The HALTER Project continue to engage more and more people around the world. You are our messengers! Thank you for being a vital member of our community, dedicated to helping animals and people stay safe and well.

May you find peace and joy this holiday season!