The popularity of keeping pets has increased dramatically over the past several years, and – in particular – how much people are willing to spend on their pets. When I was a child, if your pooch obtained some serious illness it was put to sleep (or dealt with in other ways). Nowadays people seem willing to take a second mortgage out on their house to preserve their pet’s life. Veterinarians make a boat load of cash eager to diagnose and treat everything under the sun with all the latest scientific, veterinary gadgets.
These owner-to-pet relationships could change dramatically post-SHTF, however. Whether your dog becomes an asset or a liability depends largely on how events unfold.
Dogs would be a survival asset immediately after a SHTF situation, particularly larger, well-trained dogs. They intimidate people you don’t want lingering around, they provide an early warning system for intruders near your home, and they provide much needed companionship and love when the world would otherwise look dark and grim.
Any TEOTWAWKI survival situation will likely prolonged, however. During times like these, dogs will become more of a liability. They’ll be one more mouth to feed. You may be happy tossing Fido scraps off the dinner plate now, but after SHTF there will be no such thing as food scraps. The dog food you stored (assuming you even stored some) won’t last long, and – depending on the situation and your preparedness levels – you may be looking at the food thinking to yourself, “I could eat that.” If it’s you or your family’s survival versus Fido’s . . .
Small dogs would have the advantage here as they provide that early warning system but require less food. You’d ultimately face the same problem, though – maintaining your pet.
During times of crisis, history would tell us that people often just set their pets free and the dogs become feral. Packs of roaming, feral, hungry dogs then become a threat.
Large dogs may intimidate some people, but the Golden Horde hell bent on raiding your home for their own survival will just pop your pooch with a .22lr straight to the dome and walk right by.
True story: one very late night while in college, Ranger Man and some friends were exploring the woods behind campus (it was a rural campus). We were walking old trails with headlamps when we came into a small field. Then we heard something coming – quickly. There were probably 3-4 dogs of good size standing just at the edge of our headlamps’ range barking and growling at us. What the hell these dogs were doing in the woods late at night was beyond on us, but it created a very uncomfortable situation. Fortunately, we were carrying miscellaneous gear that included a canister of white gas, dirty old socks, a hatchet and knives. (It’s a long story that involves crazy college madness . . . and intoxicants.) It took us about 30 seconds to wrap white gas soaked socks around a walking staff and light it afire, the dogs growling at us the whole time. The light, heat and flame was enough to push the vicious pooches back long enough for us to get back on trail and head in the direction of campus, but it was a lesson learned.
If you’ve got pets, make post-SHTF plans for them now. If they become feral, they may come back to haunt you.
– Ranger Man