What Is Our Plan?

3, 4, 5

This lesson is designed to raise the awareness level of the learners about emergency situations that arise with very little, if any, warning. The learners will develop ways to inform others about the necessity of being prepared for both their safety as well as the safety of their pets.  Their pet’s welfare is in their hands because pets depend on their human care givers to provide for them.

PrintTwo 45-minute class periods

The learner will:

  • develop an awareness for emergency situations that may not have advanced warning.
  • develop a plan of action in the event of an emergency.
  • identify items that might be necessary for the welfare of their pets in an emergency.
  • Learner copies of Handout One: What Will Happen to Your Pets If...?
  • Learner copies of Handout Two: Top Ten Emergency Pet Planning Tips
  • Learner copies of Handout Three: Pet Emergency Check List
  • Teacher background information about emergency preparedness can be found on the ASPCA web site at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness
  • Several items that might be needed in any emergency situation (first aid kit, fire extinguisher, list of emergency phone numbers, flashlight, blankets, container of water for drinking, portable radio with batteries, etc.
  • Several items that might be familiar to the learners used for taking care of a pet (leashes, bowls, food, container of clean water, pet carriers).
  • Chart paper or display board
  • Chart paper for group activity
  • Glue
  • Magazines, glossy ads from local stores, other resources to use for creating the picture list of emergency items.
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Handout Three: Pet Emergency Check List may be used as a homework assignment. If a learner doesn’t have a pet they may create a pretend pet or use a pet of a family member or friend.


For additional related topics and materials:


  1. Day One: Anticipatory Set: Share this scenario with the class. Imagine that someone knocked on your door and told you that you needed to evacuate your home in an hour or less. Let the learners brainstorm briefly about what they would need and want to take for themselves. Then ask: In all of the confusion to save your family, what would you do with any dogs, cats or other pets that you have? Could you find their leashes, harnesses, food, and water bowls, important medical information, medications, a pet carrier? Would you leave them behind? What about other pets that you might have: small animals, birds, guinea pig, mice, hamsters, rats, reptiles? What would happen to them?

  2. Review the information from Lesson One about the PETS Act of 2006.

  3. Ask: What are some of the things that we do here at school and at home to prepare for an emergency? (Practice bus evacuation drills, fire drills, tornado drills, severe weather drills or any others that might apply to your region).

  4. Ask: Why do we practice each type of evacuation drill? (To be able to evacuate to an area that is safe. It helps us feel safe and secure until the emergency has passed or someone comes to rescue us.)

  5. Ask: Who benefits from practicing for these emergencies? (Learners and their families) Ask: Is there any group that we didn’t include? (Pets.)

  6. Tell the learners that they are going to learn how to be prepared to take care of pets in an emergency.

  7. Show the learners a variety of items that are needed to care for pets. (If actual items aren’t available, the use of pictures of these items or a combination of pictures and items would also work.)

  8. Ask the learners to decide which items that they think a pet might need in an emergency situation (food, clean water, bowls, leashes, collars with identification, immunization records, blankets or item of comfort, pet carriers).

  9. Spend a few minutes discussing each item and why they think it is something that the pet would need. Some are obvious, others may not be.

  10. Create a list of items that are needed and list them on chart paper or the display board.

  11. Tell the learners that they are going on a picture scavenger hunt to find the things on the list that they’ve just created. They will be cutting out pictures to represent things on the list and then glue them on their group’s chart paper.

  12. Create groups of three or four learners. Give them magazines, advertisements from newspapers or department, pet and grocery stores and/or paper to draw pictures of what they need. Tell them that they must include items for animals and that for this activity they should focus on things that cats and dogs need.

  13. Post their groups’ picture list around the room and have each group share why they chose some of the items on their list.

  14. Day Two:

  15. Spend a few minutes reviewing the previous day’s activities pointing out the need to focus on animals and their welfare during an emergency. (Pets depend on humans for their welfare, to provide for them and take care of them.)

  16. Give each learner a copy of Handout One: What Will Hapen to Your Pet If...?. Read the directions and ask them to complete the sheet. (This activity sheet could be completed in groups or as a whole class activity if that is more appropriate for your class.)

  17. Allow time for the class to complete the activity sheet and then come back together for a class discussion of their responses.

  18. Give each learner a copy of Handout Two: Top Ten Emergency Pets Planning Tips. Go over each tip to be sure that the learners understand each one. Allow for any discussion that is necessary.

  19. Give each learner a copy of Handout Three: Pet Emergency Check List. Have the learners work together or independently to complete the information. Remind them that this activity will focus on pets that they have living in their home. If a learner doesn’t have a pet tell them that they may use a friend’s, a neighbor’s or a pretend pet to complete the checklist. (Some learners may have larger animals such as horses as pets. If appropriate, allow them to create a plan for that pet as well.)

  20. Allow sufficient time for the learners to complete the activity. (If necessary, this could be a homework assignment.)

  21. Bring the learners back together and discuss their answers.


Teacher’s observation of learner involvement in group activities and discussions will form the basis for the assessment of this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.