Next time you take Bonzo out for his daily exercise, turn it into a prepping activity. Dog walkers raise no more eyebrows than, say, a robin pecking at a patch of grass. It’s all part of the scenery, but for you, my friend, it’s much more. You are actively prepping!
Preppers must be highly observant and know their surroundings AND who surrounds them, so why not turn dog walking time into something more?
Here’s how walking your dog can help you prep.
Your neighborhood has an atmosphere
While walking your dog you can observe your neighborhood’s overall atmosphere. You should get a pretty good idea of the types of people who live near you.
Do see many trucks with Glock or Sig Sauer bumper stickers or lots of Smart Cars and Priuses? Nothing against any of those vehicles, but if your neighborhood is home to many of one versus the other, a person’s choice of car says a lot about them.
Do you see specific homes that you would warn your children about? Chances are in a big enough crisis, the residents of those homes may not have the best of intentions.
Are there yard signs that indicate specific religious or political persuasions?
Likewise, are there homes that have police cars parked in the driveway indicating that an officer lives there?
Is your neighborhood filled more with families with young children? Empty nesters? Senior citizens? As a population ages, it generally becomes poorer and less able to tend to a home’s upkeep.
Look for signs of trouble: graffiti, empty homes, broken windows, people coming and going at all hours of the day and night.
Do you see signs of vegetable gardening or backyard chickens? These can be tell tale signs of a prepper or, at least, someone wanting a bit more self sufficiency.
What is your gut feeling about your neighborhood? Do you feel safe walking its streets?
Your neighborhood is full of people, potential allies and otherwise
If your dog is friendly and doesn’t have any history of aggression, allow neighbors to come and meet him or her. Sometimes people warm up to an animal before they warm up to a person. Your dog may be your ticket to a new friendship or, at least, a friendly acquaintance.
As you meet people along your way, be friendly and get to know them. This will enlarge your circle of neighborhood acquaintances but also let any potential ne’er do wells that you are someone who is out and about and observing.
Retirees and stay at home moms often know neighborhood gossip, and that can be a helpful thing.
Offer help to neighbors who need it. Just last night a family we had never met before was across the street looking for their cat. We pitched in with extra flashlights and kitty treats. No one ever forgets a helpful hand in time of need, and if there’s one thing every prepper will need in an emergency, it’s a circle of friends.
As you regularly walk your dog through your neighborhood, are there homes that frequently have police cars parked out front indicating there is trouble of some sort inside? Take note.
There’s more to look for when walking the dog
Use your dog walking time to check out evacuation routes and things that might impede that evacuation, such as waterways that could become flooded.
If you had to walk from your home to a grocery store, could you do it, and how many ways do you know of to get there safely?
Are there “safe houses” in your neighborhood? If your home was threatened or uninhabitable, where could you go? Identify churches, homes of friends and co-workers, etc.
Best of all, as you’re doing this neighborhood reconnaissance, you’re just the guy or gal out walking the dog. You’re getting some exercise and fresh air, your dog is getting some exercise and is happy, while at the same time your sharp eye is taking note!
Just don’t forget the doggie pooop bag!