The best time to prepare for an accident or emergency is before you need help, in the hope that you never actually need to use your emergency contacts, plans, or kits. As a lesson learned on one of our recent walks (thankfully not serious), consider carrying emergency contacts during dog walks. It can give you peace of mind that you or a good Samaritan have quick access to key contacts if ever needed.
Humphrey's Hurt Paw
Not long ago, Humphrey injured a paw on something sharp during a walk. I wasn’t carrying my mobile phone and I didn’t know any of my emergency contact numbers* to make a call despite kind offers of phones from passers-by. With two big dogs, asking to catch a lift from a stranger wasn’t an option even if I was willing to take a leap of trust. I certainly couldn’t carry Humphrey all the way home in my arms (although I certainly wanted to). We slowly and carefully made our way home through the softest route possible. Poor little hurting Humphrey. I felt like I had failed him completely.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a serious injury. Walking home was safe and he healed with a little rest and TLC, but the event raised a serious concern. What would happen in a significant injury or emergency? How many of us are guilty of not knowing phone numbers by heart these days? Even if I did memorise a few numbers (let’s be honest, it’s never gonna happen), what if I was the one injured instead and unable to communicate? I needed a better approach to carrying emergency contacts.
* Our pets wear collar registration tags and are also microchipped; however, that may not help in an emergency. Speed aside, the phone number on a tag or linked registration / microchip is the owner’s number. It won’t help for making immediate contact with someone other than the accompanying owner. It also won’t help if my clumsy self ever has an accident without my furry training buddies.
Carrying Emergency Contacts on Dog Walks
Good Old Fashioned Handwritten Contacts
I usually carry my phone when walking the dogs (not always), but never when running. That same day, I wrote emergency contact details on the tags inside my wristlets. They’re super handy for keys, training treats, etc. when I’m running and need a “pocket.” When this post was first shared, I got a lot of questions about the wristlets. My first ones were purchased at a sports store when we lived in Australia. I haven’t seen them in our local shops here in NZ. Replacements in recent years have been special ordered from Fly Active (not a referral link, just sharing the love).
The individual numbers quickly became illegible with frequent wear-and-tear plus washing. Indelible ink fail! Not only that, but it was a failed half solution, as I didn’t always wear a wristlet whilst running and never when walking.
Other Options for Carrying Emergency Contacts
What to do? I considered shoe tags, but personally I dislike them. Plus, I wear different shoes running, walking, and hiking. I considered a customised ID wristband, but know that I wouldn’t wear it reliably making it yet another partial solution at best.
An unexpected solution arose when Kidecals offered an opportunity to try their durable personalised labels that can stand up to the dishwasher and laundry washers/dryers, stick to just about anything, yet can be removed damage free. I’m always dubious of such product claims, so when my order arrived, I cut a few pieces from the top of the sheet and put them through their paces on test articles (both fabric and hard surfaces) before trying them on anything important. No issues at all. Very impressed! Their quality is excellent and it’s well worth paying for the long-term durability.
Personalised Emergency Contact Labels
There are a number of different options for buying or DIYing personalised emergency contact labels. The Kidecals name labels are primarily aimed at parents with children of all ages, from newborn to college, but can be just as handy for adults. My emergency contact dilemma was outside of their typical product use (although they do have some nifty allergy labels). The durability and sizing seemed like such a perfect fit that I decided to try them for a more grown up type of emergency label.
I selected a classic style from their many templates (Letterpress) and was easily able to customise it to suit an adult-friendly emergency sticker, including two contact numbers that are blurred out in these pictures for privacy. They are clearly legible even in the smallest label sizes – perfect for tiny tags or adding a discrete yet functional message just about anywhere and on anything. I now have stickers on the tags of common-use running and walking gear, including wristlets, jackets, and hats, etc. They are also excellent for popping onto other items, like gym ID, mobile phone, etc.
Thus far, my labelled gear has been put through the literal wringer of our wet muddy winter and spring and all the washing that goes with it, and the labels still look perfect. I haven’t needed to use the new emergency contacts yet and hope I never will, but I feel so much better for having them available at all times. Wouldn’t you? Whether it is tags, labels, bracelets, or something completely different, find a personal safety solution that works for you.
If you’d like to try Kidecals durable custom labels for yourself, you can use coupon code summersavings at check out to save a tidy 15% on your purchase. Based upon their cute designs and durability, Kidecals would be awesome for their more conventional duties of labelling kids school, sports, club, and travel gear, but don’t let that stop you from using them for other hard-wearing label needs, like we have with our emergency tags. They have some very nifty looking household options as well. I also bought some washable labels for our treat jars.
Be Prepared, Furfriends!
Accidents and injuries can occur at any time, so be prepared. September is Emergency Preparedness Month (or National Preparedness Month for our American readers, with this week’s special focus on Individual Preparedness). This is a great time to check your personal and household / family emergency readiness. Check out our archived post from Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on preparing a emergency plan for your furfamily (including free printables) as well as a peek into our homemade pet first aid kid for more helpful tips. Don’t forget your everyday personal emergency preparedness as well, including making sure you (or first responders) can readily reach your personal emergency contacts, if ever needed. Take my own small experience above as a lesson learned.