“I have no one to take care of my pet.” 

“I had an accident, and my pets are home alone.”

“My doctor advises I should come to the hospital, but I can’t without somebody to help with my pets.”

Companion animal ownership has documented effectiveness in improving health and longevity. but conversely it can be a hardship – even a crisis – for those who are facing an extended hospital stay, or who, in a medical emergency, have no one to turn to for pet care. This dilemma is true across all income and age levels, but is especially crucial for seniors and those on limited incomes.

Not Home Alone is an educational initiative sponsored by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, to help pet owners prepare for emergency situations and to assist hospitals in implementing patient pet care programs. The project director is available to present the concept and logistical details, and, in some cases, to work on site to assist program development.

We saw visual reminders of the close bond between pets and their human families every day in the coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Hospitals see the individual disasters: People brought to the Emergency Rooms, who have had no chance to make arrangements for pet care; poor patients, often elderly, whose pets may be the only family they have. For those who are already here in the hospital, there are hours, perhaps days, of worrying about the fate of their animal family. Not Home Alone offers hospitals a way to assist the patients who depend on them and the animals who depend on the patients.