Dear Fellow Survivalist;
When most of us start thinking about survival, we start with self. What can I do to make it possible for me to survive? From there, it’s a short step to extending that thought to our families, especially for those who are married and have kids. Part of being married is taking care of your family, no matter what the circumstances.
From there, the next step in many people’s thinking is moving on to a survival group or team. That’s a logical step, as being part of a team will help ensure anyone’s survival. Of course, it takes the right team, but that’s a subject for another day.
But there’s someone that many of us skip over, as we jump from family to survival team, that’s our pets. Somehow, those pets don’t seem to enter into our thinking. Yet when the time comes, our children will be as concerned about the family pet’s safety and survival, as they will their own. If we don’t plan for our pets, then we might find that we are giving up some of our food, just to take care of them.
But there are other reasons why we should think of pets when we’re thinking of survival. That’s because cats and dogs are useful companions in a survival situation. Their natural abilities are things that we can use, if we understand them and how to use those abilities.
One of the things that happens after any disaster is an increase in the rodent population. While squirrels might be great to have around, so that we can use them as an additional source of protein, I’m not so sure how many of us are interested in eating rats and mice. Besides that, we don’t want them getting into our food supply and eating it before we can.
Cats are natural hunters, even domestic cats. Keeping a cat around will do wonders to deep the rodent population under control. That’s why farmers always have cats. If they didn’t, the rats and mice would eat the grain that they have stored up for their livestock.
Dogs are even more useful. Some will hunt rats as well, but the biggest reason to have dogs around in a survival situation is to help with your family’s defense. As anyone who has had dogs knows, dogs are territorial and will defend their territory. Even small dogs, who can’t really do much to defend the home are territorial and will raise an alarm whenever anyone comes around. They can easily serve as a perimeter alarm, without having to leave anyone else on guard duty.
This natural tendency of dogs is a great help, both while bugging in and bugging out. Both cases provide ample opportunities for intruders to come near. But dogs are always on duty, even when they are asleep. They’ll raise the alarm, whether it is someone trying to break into your home to get your food or a bear trying to get into your camp to get your food.
Larger dogs can even be trained to attack, helping to defend the family. While this is part of their natural inclination anyway, the training is needed so that they only attack at your command or when a family member is in danger. An attacker, after your family, may know how to deal with you, but there just something about being attacked by a carnivore, which messes with most people’s defensive mechanism. Even a trained fighter is unlikely to know how to react to being attacked by a dog.
But a dog’s ability to watch and protect goes beyond looking out for strangers. Dogs have a natural ability to sense a wide variety of dangers, even health dangers. Have you ever seen a dog lay down across the top of a staircase, to keep a baby from falling down? Somehow, they recognize that danger and do what’s necessary to protect the baby. I’ve even seen dogs recognize when someone was sick and bring them help.
You won’t find a better babysitter for your children than the family dog. To them, those children are cubs in their pack. As such, they feel a responsibility to protect the children from harm, and will do whatever is necessary to do so. So, you can concentrate on survival tasks, trusting the dog to not only warn you of danger, but to keep your children out of it.
Of course, all these natural abilities are improved with training. But it’s not just your dog who needs to be trained; you do to. You need to learn how to recognize what the dog is trying to tell you. Their language is limited, but they can still get the idea across, once we learn to recognize what they are trying to say.
So, make sure your dog is ready to go, as part of your family’s survival planning. They might just prove to be the most valuable member of your survival team. In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival equipment close at hand.