We had record rainstorms here in the Chicago area over the weekend. 7 or 8 inches fell in one 24 period, most of it Friday night. We broke current records by more than double.

I just read this article in the local paper:

Winnetka Family Mourns Loss of Dogs Submerged in Flooded Basement


From the article:

The weekend storm didn’t wake Jim and Alex Cravens.

But when the Winnetka couple looked down the basement stairs Saturday morning, their hearts sank. Eight feet of water had submerged everything, including the three kennels containing their pets: Wickham, a Havanese; Emma, a Maltese; and Oscar, an English bulldog.

While the couple and their two sons slept upstairs, the basement filled with water until it nearly reached the top step. The family never heard a bark.

“We all loved them. It’s not losing a child, but it sure feels like it,” Jim Cravens said Monday, as crews worked downstairs.

“They were my babies,” Alex Cravens added, holding a tissue to her nose and trying to keep back the tears.


I am so sickened by this, I could spit. What possible reason could there be to keep dogs in a basement at night? The crates aren't enough to contain them? The crates don't "go" with the decor?

They were her "babies"?????? Did she put her human babies to bed in the basement????

Those dogs wouldn't have stood a chance even if they hadn't been crated. Tiny little dogs like a Maltese or a Havanese? A bracheocephalic, clumsy dog like an English Bulldog?

This may or may not have anything to do with it, but those unfamiliar with Winnetka, IL should know that it is ranked as the 29th highest income location in the United States.



I hope anyone who keeps pets in the basement reads this article. Maybe they will wake up.

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What a horribly sad ending for these poor dogs.  The worst part is that they're probably out trying to replace their "babies" right now.
I have to say that I am absolutely appalled by a majority of comments here.  How dare you be so harshly judgmental when you clearly know such a small portion of the story!  I did not see mention of this being a finished or unfinished basement.  This could have been a room that was used as a family room by ALL members of the family, dogs and humans on a daily basis.  This could have been the most comfortable room in the house where everyone congregated and enjoyed each other, watched TV or played on a computer.  It's possible that it had an exposed or partially exposed basement.  You know nothing of the family dynamics, the dog dynamics or why they did what they did.  You jump to judge!  I am through with this web-site!  My nephew sleeps in a "basement"!!!  It is one of the most luxurious suites that I have ever seen.  Master bedroom, with full-sized bath complete with soaking tub and a 360 surround shower.  He has a slate patio off of the one set of doors that opens to the pool.  Yes this is a basement.  These people who have lost 3 members of their family are devastated.  Had they know I am sure they would have done whatever they could to have saved their pups!  I prefer to make assumptions based on the positive.  I'm done here, as I can see there is nothing I have in common with you except the breed of dog I have.

I'm very sorry that you feel that way, Donna, but I stick by my statements here. It really doesn't matter if the room was luxurious or comfortable, or if all members of the family used it; it was two stories removed from the humans' sleeping area, and the dogs could not be heard if they were in distress. It is widely-known that dogs want to be where their humans are, and every trainer or authority on dogs with whom I am familiar advocates allowing your dogs to sleep in a location close to your own. Banning them from the human sleeping areas of the home is cruel, and is not the way "family members" are treated by any family that I know. Family members do not relegate other family members to the basement.

This was not what is known as a "daylight basement", which is what your nephew has. There were no doors to the outside. The entire level is underground, that is why it flooded. I am also certain that your nephew is old enough to choose where he sleeps and has the ability to get out if he needs to. I doubt very much that if your nephew was two years old, he would be sleeping two floors away from his parents or caretakers.

 If I had posted a story about someone beating their dogs, ot starving their dogs, I am sure you would not feel that anything said about them was harshly judgmental. These people abused their dogs and indirectly caused their deaths. I reserve my sympathy for the dogs, not the humans. The dogs had no choice in the matter.

Donna -

This is a tragic story.  Most of us here have very strong connections with our canine family and therefore are deeply disturbed by this story.  My response to you is:

1 - If the only thing you have in common with the members here is the "breed of dog" then you are saying that you don't care about the welfare of our canine friends or the welfare of your fellow memebers.  I don't beleive that is true, I just think you don't agree with the posts in this discussion.


2 - We discuss contraversial issues here.  The only way to help others see the whole picture is by expressing your concerns and opinions.  You lose your voice if you run away. 

Very well said!

Here's the local television coverage of the incident, with comments from three others (who have nothing to do with this website) but seem to agree with the comments made here.



I wouldn't even be comfortable putting my dogs in crates in the living room, just 10 steps out my bedroom door. Karen is correct.....dogs need to be close to their people. My heart aches for those 3 babies....they had no chance in that basement.

As a person who shares my bed with two doodles who are indeed my "babies" I have to agree that I cannot personally imagine keeping any dog outside of the immediate vicinity of my sleeping quarters at night. The number one reason for me being that I of course want my own beloved pups and any foster dog to feel safe, secure and part of the pack as like children this reassures them and helps them to become well-adjusted well-mannered companions. The second reason being God forbid there was a life threatening disaster such as a fire, a tornado or as in this case a flood that required immediate evacuation of the house?

People must be made aware of the responsibility and accountability that comes with "crating" companion animals before they decide to sequester an obviously "restrained" animal incapable of escape in an emergency, to another not easily accessible area in the home.

This makes me so sad.  Truly a heartwrenching story. I imagined my two in their crates, in our basement, crying for help.  The only time Peri gets to go to the basement is to get in the car or when I invite her to come explore while I am doing stuff in it. 

I am paranoid enough about a fire starting on the other side of the house, which is why I love my ranch house, where all three bedrooms are at one end together and the dogs sleep in our room with us.

These stories also are a reason why we got fire protection with our alarm in the event we are not home, the dogs are and something happens. 


I ask myself sometimes if I am "over the top" about the dogs. I don't think so. 

I agree this one of the saddest stories I have heard in a long time, and I am heartsick for those wee dogs. I won't express my contempt for the "owners" of these poor things. But one thing I have heard of recently, and perhaps I am way behind the times, is a sign you can either buy or make for yourself, that alerts fire responders to the fact that there are pets in the house: dogs, cats, whatever. So if you are not home, they will see the sign and hopefully try to search for and save the family pets. You can even indicate where they might be. I don't know why I hadn't thought of this on my own.

I don't think any of us are "over the top" about our dogs. I love my dogs more than I do a great many people, and I would do just about anything to protect them.

I agree, it isn't over the top to do the absolute best you can to protect your pets from harm. Nobody is forced to have dogs, people acquire them voluntarily, and in doing so, agree to be responsible for their welfare.
Andrea~ There are stickers that you can place on your windows to alert firefighters that there are animals in the home. If you go to any Banfield Pet Hospital, they have them. You just have to ask and they will give them to you. They have places to write what type of pets are living in the home. It's a good idea to put the sticker on a window closest to your front door and your back door.


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