By Michelle Sherrow
Greg Cook and his dog, Coco, became Internet sensations when the pictures of their emotional reunion following this month's Category 5 tornado spread like wildfire across Facebook and Twitter. Greg wasn't home when the twister hit in Limestone County, Alabama, and as he made his way through his neighborhood, which the storm had destroyed, he feared he would never see Coco again. When Greg spotted his leveled home among the wreckage, the chances that Coco had survived looked even bleaker.
Greg crawled through a window of what used to be his home and was wading through the piles of debris when he spotted Coco—soaking wet, shaking, and terrified but alive. Greg's emotion at that moment is evident as he tells his story in a video that he shot for PETA to urge guardians to make sure that their animals will be protected in case of a disaster.
DON'T LEAVE IT TO CHANCE
Greg and Coco were fortunate—but many other animals and their guardians have not escaped disasters unscathed. Greg encourages all animal guardians to prepare for natural disasters in advance. Here are some top tips:
- Make sure that animals are wearing a collar or harness with current ID tags.
- Get animals microchipped and keep your information current with the microchip company.
- Keep current photos of animals in your wallet or purse to help rescue teams identify them.
- Keep current medical records—along with phone numbers for the animals' veterinarian and local boarding facilities—in an easily accessible place.
- Make an emergency evacuation kit that contains leashes, medicine, water, food, litter, and phone numbers of hotels that welcome animals.