By Janet McAfee
Will this wind ever stop? Local residents report the recent Coachella Valley windstorms are the worst we have had in 50 years. Winds roared through Whitewater at 50mph, continued through the 10-freeway corridor to Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, and Thousand Palms. Residents in inland areas including La Quinta reported piles of sand blown into their homes and swimming pools where one could take a mud bath.
Every summer this column tells the story of Summer, a precious little Silky Terrier who died from painful heat stroke on August 15, 2015, in a Desert Hot Springs car lot. Summer’s story went viral, and she was featured on KESQ local news. This current turbulent weather is also stressful and harmful for our beloved pets, particularly those who have no refuge inside your home.
The flying debris and sand are distressing to humans who curtail their outdoor activities due to the harmful air quality. A walk outside results in gritty sand getting into your eyes and mouth, and it does the same for your dog. Just as this poor air quality can cause distress and medical problems for humans, it can result in coughing and upper respiratory infections for Fido. Outside water bowls quickly fill up with sand and debris which is unhealthy and horribly unpleasant for a dog. If they are reluctant to do their “business” on the days with extreme wind, substitute potty pads until the wind subsides.
Animals stressed from the wind are more likely to dig under and jump fences to escape. Some are killed or injured by coyotes or automobiles. Others are captured by county animal control officers and taken to overcrowded public shelters. Gates blow open from the strong winds allowing pets to escape. One missing pup named Buddy escaped from his yard in Desert Hot Springs when a gardener left the gate latch undone (despite instruction to always close it) and the wind blew the gate open. Buddy was featured by KESQ news, and his distraught owner asked me to feature him in this article.
HAVE YOU SEEN BUDDY? CALL (310) 351-6495. Attached is a photo of a beloved 30-pound service dog named Buddy in his home. His owner is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to his safe return, no questions asked. He escaped on a windy day on May 3 from his yard in Desert Hot Springs. Buddy was last spotted several days later at Mountain View and Dillon Road in Desert Hot Springs. Buddy is skittish so call immediately if you see him rather than try to catch him. If you live in DHS, please keep an eye out. Anna is doing everything imaginable in her search for him.
Talk to friends and neighbors who think their dog should be outdoors 24 hours a day despite the weather. Calmly ask them why their dog is always outside. Suggest they get a baby gate and keep their dog in a tiled room during the hot or very windy days. Give them a copy of this article. Email me for additional ideas to transition a dog from outside to inside.
Fortunately, we got a break from the most severe wind on Memorial Day. Meanwhile, enjoy the companionship and unconditional love your best canine friend provides INSIDE YOUR HOME!