"The Color Yellow"
Summer Greetings to our HALTER Project Community

Greetings, and Happy Pet Prep Month! June is also the start of summer when our attention often turns to fun and frivolity. We’re not really in the mood for disaster prep. But here’s the thing: We need to accept prep as part of our daily lives, so we don’t have to stop having fun and spend long hours on readiness.

I have a friend who’s a CalFire Battalion Chief and yoga master. He lives in the WUI in a small Northern California town. He loves animals and has a lot of them. Last summer, he said something that really stuck with me: “We need to learn how to be in a constant state of yellow”.
Now, since I was a kid, yellow has always been my favorite color. I’ve had yellow kitchens and yellow bedrooms. When I was a nerdy teen, “Mellow Yellow” meant lemon cream pie and lemonade slushees slurped on horseback. Daffodils are my favorite flowers. Yellow makes me happy. But yellow has slipped on our spectrum. We have begun to adopt a cycle of ramped- up “high alert-ness” alternating with periods of blissful ease. We bounce between the red danger zone and the green peacetime zone.

It’s time to step into a permanent state of yellow, where prepping doesn’t require so much frantic activity, because we’re mostly ready, all the time, for most things. Animals live this way. They are constantly aware of their environment and the energy of the humans in it. Thinking like our pets, equines and farm animals can help us keep them safer when things move into “Red”.
To kick off summer, we propose that we all try making a commitment to move into the “Yellow Zone”. Doing things that develop mind-muscle memory, and help us work more effectively with our animals, can actually be calming. And calm is where we need to be when it comes time to get our animals and ourselves to do something fast, in a stressful, dynamic situation.

Our “Salute to Yellow”— and steady readiness is our very old-school “Yellow Pages” of Animal Emergency / Disaster Resources and tips to help you set up or refresh your Action Plan and make prep part of your daily routine. 

We hope our Animal Prep Yellow Page will make you smile and inspire you to find ways to make your own yellow safety place. 
Top Summer Prep Tips
Our Motto is "All Species, All Dangers, All Safe!”
The “All Species” part starts with US:
If we’re not safe, we can’t take care of others.
Make Your Animal's Home as Safe as Your Own
  • Disaster Action Planning
  • Animal Evac Preparedness
  • Sheltering in Place
  • Creating Defensible Space for Animals
  • Ready Kit Checklists
  • Barn Safety Checklist
  • How to Request Help for Animals
  • Companion Animal Emergency Plan
  • Advance Health & Final Directive for Pets
  • ... and more!

Have fun & celebrate -- and keep your pets and animals safe & happy too!
Tips for Travelers, Pet-Friendly Hosts, and Animal Sitters
Whether your menagerie is traveling with you, or staying home, we have great guides for owners, animal caregivers, and hosts. All in handy packets. In Spanish, too!

  • Disaster Action Plan (DAP) for Guests with Pets
  • When Your Animals Are Staying at Home
  • If Your Animals are Traveling With You
  • Key Items to Include in Your DAP
  • Airbnb, VRBO, Camp Site, B&B Safety
  • Drinking Water Safety
  • ...and more!

Join Us at Upcoming Events!
One of best ways to help keep your animals, family and home safe is to work together with neighbors and friends.

Contact HALTER Project if you’d like help with a Prep Workshop, in-person for Northern Cal and the Bay Area, or virtually, anywhere! Get in touch at: rescue@halterfund.org 

Saturday, July 9th at 2pm – Guerneville Library
Tuesday, July 12 at 5pm – Windsor Library
Wednesday, July 20 at 6pm – Rincon Valley Library
Saturday, July 23 at 11am – Sebastopol Library
Tuesday, July 26 at 6pm – Cloverdale Library
Wednesday July 27 at 6pm – Rohnert Park-Cotati Library
As an Animal Disaster Service Worker, I’m honored to know several teammates who deployed earlier this spring with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, (IFAW), at the Poland-Ukraine border.

I talked with John Maretti, founder and Executive Director of North Valley Animal Disaster Group and a longtime member of IFAW’s Disaster Response Team, about his experience. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Q: John, how would you describe your deployment to help Ukraine animal refugees?
A: It was HARD. I’ve deployed all over the world, to fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, but never a war. I was stunned by the people: their calmness and determination, their sheer strength and stamina, and love for their pets. They had to work so hard to take them and keep them safe.

Q: What are some of your most poignant and lasting images?
A: The way people arrived at the border, carrying pets any way they could. In their arms, in boxes, in ice chests with holes punched in them. In bags. Anything they could grab as they were leaving, many during Russian attacks. We were awestruck by the calmness of the people, their stoicism. And they wanted help for their animals first, that was their priority.

Q: What condition are the pets in when they arrive?
A: Most are dehydrated. Most had fleas. We saw a couple with shrapnel wounds, paw injuries. 

Q: What services and care does the IFAW team provide?
A: The IFAW tent was staffed 24/7, including veterinarians. The animals are treated for dehydration, parasites, injuries. The people are given food, water, carriers, harnesses, leashes, muzzles, whatever’s necessary to get them through the next stage of their journey.

Q: Where are the veterinarians from?
A: All over: they are IFAW vets from Australia, the UK, America, Europe. We were really lucky to have a local vet with us during my deployment.

Q: We’re hearing a lot about the animal shelters. Were you able to assist any?
A: We loaded truckloads of supplies that went to shelters inside Ukraine, but our team was required to remain stationed at the border, on the Polish side.

Q: Would you go back?
A: Absolutely.

During my recent deployment to the Sentinel Response Disaster Simulation Exercise, I talked with an Air Force medic who had just returned from service in Ukraine. He’s also a North Bay volunteer Animal Disaster Service worker, and spent his spare time helping people assisting the animals left behind.

He observed that “the street animals who have formed packs are generally well fed and watered, and many get some care”. He helped unload supplies for shelter and street animals being cared for by residents who have stayed, many, just to take care of the animals.

IFAW is working with the EU to improve evacuation channels and develop policy for vaccination restrictions and other factors that impact refugee ability to evacuate with their pets.

To learn more, or help, visit: IFAW.org
Veterinary professionals interested in assisting Ukraine animals should refer to the AVMA CDC, CalAnimals, or the entity in their country providing guidance.

Thanks for joining our community.
Have a safe summer, and keep smilin’!