The Pet Owner
In An Emergency

"An emergency represents a crisis to the pet owner"

Components of a Crisis
  • Highly charged environment
  • Stages are fairly predictable
    • Pre-Crisis:  Series of ups and downs, coping at a normal level
    • Stressful event upsets the normal balance, creates crisis, person is unable to cope using normal channels, usual ways become insufficient
    • Symptoms occur
    • Acute pain usually motivates the person to seek solutions
  • Time Limited:  A crisis state is limited because the body and mind can only sustain the stress for so long (usually about 72 hours).
    • Resolve the crisis in a healthy manner by identifying alternatives
    • Seek help
    • Handle the crisis in a negative way by using:
      • Denial
      • Self-destructive behaviors
      • Directing their attention toward other distractions (offen leading to another crisis).
    • Intervention can make a difference with many clients.


Responding to Clients in a Crisis
  • Proceed quickly, decisively, and remain calm.
  • Stabilize:  Attend to immediate needs, emotions, and physiological states.
    • Structure the environment to calm the pet owner and restore order.
    • Attend to emotions, listen carefully, and focus on what the owner is feeling.
    • Empower the pet owner as soon as possible, in any way possible.
  • Evaluate needs and implement a plan of action.
    • Assess the situation and prioritize/help the client identify the most important issue or concern.
    • Explore available resources.
    • Form a plan for how the client will proceed.
    • Provide any necessary follow-up afterwords.
Copyright, 1998, Dana Durrance, MA and Wayne E. Wingfield, DVM, Colorado State University.  All Rights Reserved.