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The Catalyst

Emergency pet care offered during hurricane season

By Monica Fabunan
Public Relations

For 2013, scientists have warned that the Atlantic hurricane season may have between seven and 11 named storms. With the season in its first month, employees wanting to utilize an emergency pet care center on campus need to make preparations.

To utilize the emergency pet care center on campus, employees must bring a three-day supply of food for their pet and provide proof that vaccinations are up to date.
To utilize the emergency pet care center on campus, employees must bring a three-day supply of food for their pet and provide proof that vaccinations are up to date.

An emergency pet care center is offered to MUSC employees who are on Team A during a weather emergency. Team A employees are required to stay at the hospital during a weather emergency and maintain the specific functions of their department.

Avid animal lover Sue Pletcher, R.N, the director of Health Information Services, said that the idea of an emergency pet care center on campus resulted from fulfilling an unknown need.

“I was working as a nurse and director of Critical Care Services at the time, and there were tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings. Then, we went through our usual preparation procedures for a weather emergency and got a call from Paul Moss, the head of hospital security, who told me there was a dog in the ICU, in the surgical intensive unit,” said Pletcher. A traveling nurse had brought her family’s dog to the hospital to ensure its safety during the rough weather.

After this unexpected call, Pletcher started thinking about the hassle it took to ensure her pets’ safety and how difficult it must be to find a safe place for pets if the owner is at work and prohibited to leave during the storm. The next year, Pletcher pitched the idea of a pet care center to the administration and gained support. After the idea was approved by her department head and the chief executive officer, Pletcher found space away from the hospital to finally launch the emergency pet care center.

PJ Floyd, left, and Sue Pletcher tour the emergency pet care center, located on the second floor of the Ashley-Rutledge parking garage. While at the center, volunteers supervise the animals and allow them play time outside of their crates.
PJ Floyd, left, and Sue Pletcher tour the emergency pet care center, located on the second floor of the Ashley-Rutledge parking garage. While at the center, volunteers supervise the animals and allow them play time outside of their crates.

EPCC will be located on the second floor of the Ashley-Rutledge parking garage in the event of an emergency, and employees will be able to drop off their pets. Due to limited space, there is a maximum of three pets per employee allowed in the center. EPCC can only handle 60 cats and dogs; therefore, reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis with a $10 fee per pet.

EPCC will only accept cats and dogs with updated vaccinations. These include:

  • Dogs: Rabies; DHLPPC/C and ITT (Bordetella): must be given five days prior to boarding the animal to be effective.
  • Cats: Rabies; FVRCP and Feline Leukemia

Animals are not allowed in the hospital work area or any private offices located throughout the hospital or university buildings. If the pet care center is full, animals will have to be transported to other locations off campus.

Pet owners will have to provide a two-week supply of any medications the pet may need as well as a crate labeled with the owner’s and pet’s name, a telephone number and the veterinarian’s name. Also, animals should have a collar with an identification tag, leash, bowls, water and a three-day supply of food.

Click here to read more about Sue Pletcher.

If a pet isn’t accustomed to being around other animals, consider bringing a blanket to cover the crate or speak to a veterinarian about possible sedation.

Retiring after 18 years of service on June 12, Pletcher has handed over the EPCC leash to Clinical Documentation Integrity & Abstraction manager Phyllis J. “PJ” Floyd, R.N.

For more information about EPCC, visit http://www.musc.edu/vpfa/operations/Risk%20Management/emergency/weather/pet_otheroptions.htm or contact Floyd at floyp@musc.edu.

June 19, 2013
 
 
 

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