Before the holiday season sets in, I’d like to catch up on some thoughts, information and events.

At the time of this writing, there is still no set opening date for the Bluffton Dog Park. The park has officially had its approvals, so we are waiting and wondering when this very LONG-awaited event will be.

I guess after waiting 10-plus years, a little longer wait for Bluffton won’t really matter. But please, how much more patient can we all be when we know the park is there and ready?

Keep looking at the Town of Bluffton website for the event date. I hope to see lots of you there.

Hurricane and evacuation thoughts. A while back, I published an article on necessary and suggested supplies for pet owners during storm evacuations. What I neglected to think of and personally express to pet owners, whether they agree with me or not, is what to do with your pets should that situation arise.

I understand that every situation is different but, in general, why would you leave your pets here, potentially in harm’s way, when you are leaving? If you are driving, take your pets with you! If you need to board them, do so near where you are evacuating to if you can’t keep them with you. At least they will be out of harm’s way.

I do not think it is sensible to leave pets here in anyone’s care when they might not be able to get back and forth to a facility to care for your pets – or possibly, if things prove so dangerous that their families or staff might also have to evacuate.

If you are taking other types of transportation and cannot take a pet, or if you are already away from home when a potential disaster looms, ask a friend or relative to evacuate your pet.

Please have a back-up plan in place if you have to leave the area. This should be documented so whoever takes your pet has the required vaccination records, medications and food. If they have to get them from a person or place that is boarding, then give those instructions to whoever has the pet.

I also have further thoughts on the upper respiratory bacterial infection that went around a few months ago. As far as I have heard, there is no vaccine for this particular strain of infection.

It certainly could come back again. It managed to affect a large part of the coastal states from Virginia to South Carolina and a few others nearby.

Vets are recommending that if your dog is exposed to other dogs, you should get an additional Bordetella vaccine even if it is not time for one. That is about all you can do right now.

Maybe a specific vaccine will be developed but, like all things viral and bacterial, mutations occur whether affecting humans or animals.

Have fun, and keep your dog safe, well-socialized and healthy.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com