Dog wash educates on disaster preparedness

T-Dubs the terrier mix survived his own pet trauma: A beat-up stray, he ended up at a shelter and was hours away from his end when he was rescued by a local veterinarian then adopted and nursed back to health by a loving family.

On Saturday afternoon, T-Dubs seemed willing to endure a little canine indignity — being hosed down, lathered up and publicly bathed — to help animals who face a different kind of trauma.

T-Dubs (his full name is Train Wreck) was one of a pack of dogs whose owners had them washed for a cause in the parking lot of GreenAcres Market at Bradley Fair on Saturday.

Members of the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team (SCART), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about how to handle pets during disasters, were on-site washing away summertime smelliness, clipping nails and pulling out sticker burrs.

For a suggested $20 donation, dog owners left with fresh-smelling pets and a packet of information instructing them how to prepare for an emergency.

The 3-year-old group's first big challenge was helping after the Greensburg tornado, which illustrated the need for public education, said the team's director, local veterinarian Christen Skaer.

She and a group of volunteers scoured the town in the days after the tornado, looking for pets in need, many who had been left behind by owners who assumed they'd return quickly to their homes.

"There were about 350 we cared for," she said, "and very few of them were ever returned home."

A survey showed that of the people who failed to evacuate their homes after Hurricane Katrina, 44 percent said that they didn't want to leave their pets behind, Skaer said.

Having a plan in place that allows people to evacuate with their animals saves human and animal lives, Skaer said.

"It makes our jobs a lot easier," she said. "There's not a team in the world that can rescue all the animals affected by a disaster, so it helps if people are prepared."

T-Dubs the terrier mix seemed a little unprepared for the pampering he received.

As his owners, Kelly Banna and T.J. Clancy held and soothed him, the teddy-bear-faced survivor shivered, shook and pleaded with his eyes to make it stop.

He didn't, however, make the horrible sound he usually makes when stressed out.

How horrible is that sound?

"It sounds like a train wreck," Banna said.

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