Pet Guide


There are many forms of wildlife that are residents of the site. As a general rule, please respect all the wildlife in the area and do not harm them.

Dogs at War!

Bringing your pet to war can be a big decision. Not only do they miss the familiarities of home, they are required to deal with all sorts of strange noises, large crowds, temperature changes, and more. Some deal with it better than others, so you have to decide whether they’d be more comfortable with you or at home. If you choose to bring them to war, here are a few tips guaranteed to make everyone’s war better, safer, and less stressful.

Tag ’em

Despite your best efforts, your pet may somehow escape or become lost, which can be complicated by the unfamiliar surroundings, sounds, and smells. All dogs should be wearing tags with their humans’ modern contact information as well as a city or county license. In addition, consider adding a tag with specific SCA/camping information that will help reunite you with your pup on site more quickly. It’s easy to laminate a small piece of paper with your SCA name, household, camping space, and mobile number, then just punch a hole and slip it in with the other tags. This will help the war staff to reunite you with your pet on-site rather than sending your pet on a stressful trip to the pound.

In the event that your dog loses his collar (and all identifying tags), a microchip is an excellent way to protect your pet and make reuniting a much better possibility. It’s a quick, inexpensive, painless procedure that provides incredible peace of mind. Talk to your vet about micro chipping.

In the event of a loose or stray dog, the war staff will attempt to catch and return your pet if properly marked. However, the staff has been instructed to be extremely cautious when handling stray animals. If your pet demonstrates aggression or other dangerous behavior, county animal control officers will handle it.

Pet Owners will be issued a self-stick wristband when checking into gate to secure to your pets’ collars. Please label your gate-issued wristband with your complete information: SCA/Legal Name, Camp Name, and your cell phone number.


Protecting your pet with the proper vaccinations is not only smart, it’s the law. And not only modern law, but kingdom law too! All dogs in Caid must be able to show proof of a rabies vaccination. A great way to make sure you always have this handy is to store a copy of your vaccination records in the vehicle your dog travels in.

Since your hound will potentially rub noses with many new friends at war, it’s also smart to protect them with the other recommended vaccines such as: Parvo, Corona, DHLPP (Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, and canine distemper) and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Camping out, even in civilized Caid, can expose your pet to all sorts of pests such as ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas—all of which carry all sorts of nasty stuff such as Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and tapeworms, among others. Protect your dog with a good prophylactic like K9 Advantix. It’s way easier to take the precautions and prevent infestation rather than deal with the aftermath. Your pet will thank you for it.

Bad human, no biscuit!

The opportunity to bring your pet to war is a privilege; please protect it with responsible, thoughtful behavior. By following a few common sense rules you’ll ensure our 4-legged friends are always welcome at war.

· Scoop the poop

This sounds obvious but apparently isn’t to everyone. Please, watch your dog carefully and always carry 3 bags with you at all times. And in the name of chivalry, if you see some that has been missed, pick it up. You’ll be a hero to all and the person you save from stepping in it may be yourself. Be sure to securely tie waste bags before disposing in the trash and never throw them in the porta-potties.

· Keep a leash on it

No matter how well behaved your dog is or how small or inconsequential your dog might seem: Keep your dog on a leash. Not only is it good canine manners, it’s the law. Not everyone is comfortable with dogs approaching them—be respectful and keep your pet under control at all times. Remind children to always ask the owner’s permission before approaching and petting a strange dog. And be a cautious owner—hounds that are normally friendly and kid-safe at home may react differently in an unfamiliar situation. Be sure your dog is comfortable and relaxed before allowing people to come up and love them. And if you allow your children to walk the family pet, please consider the dog’s strength and excitement level at war: Excited dogs can lunge or run unexpectedly, potentially injuring small children.

· Home Alone

Most dogs want to be with their pack. Be courteous to your neighbors and please don’t leave your dog alone in camp. A normally well-adjusted hound may react to being left in a strange place in a variety of different ways including non-stop barking, crying, or frantic attempts to escape and find you. Take your pup with you while you’re out and about, or designate a human to keep him company. And never, ever leave a dog unattended in a tent, pavilion, or vehicle. The temperature can rise quickly and become dangerous or deadly faster than you think.

· Respect the wildlife

Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area is home to a host of creatures that could potentially be dangerous to your pet. Be on the lookout for snakes, coyotes, buzzards, owls, skunks, opossums, gophers, squirrels, geese, ducks, and even cats. If you should have a chance encounter, try to keep your pet calm and put as much distance as you can between you and the wildlife. Report dangerous predators to the war staff, and for goodness sake don’t try to handle any local creatures yourself.

· Special procedures for a mountain lion encounter

Stay calm and do not run, turn your back, or walk away. Keep your pet as close to you as you can. Give the cat plenty of room and a way to escape, as most will avoid a confrontation if possible. Try to appear larger than you are by raising your arms overhead and opening your jacket or cloak. Yell aggressively, make lots of noise and throw rocks, branches, or other objects if necessary. Avoid bending or crouching. Should you be attacked, fight back, try to stay standing, and face the animal as they usually go for the head and neck area.

· Off-Roading

If you adventure into the wilds of Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area with your pet, be aware of dangerous plants and foliage. You could find stinging nettles, thistles, foxtail, poison oak, and more. Poison oak can be transferred easily from your pet to you. Be aware and careful.

Be Prepared

Be sure to pack and bring all the gear, food and water your pet will need over the weekend. Make a list you can double-check before departing. Here are some suggestions, but make sure to personalize with items important to your pet.

· Food

Dry or wet, pack enough for every day you plan to be at war plus an extra day or two just in case. Store dry food in a waterproof, bug-proof container.

· Water

Plan for several gallons per pet in case it is hotter or dryer than anticipated. Pets appreciate water from home that smells familiar, and you want to do everything you can to encourage regular hydration. For dogs that won’t drink away from home, bring a couple cans of low-sodium chicken broth. This usually entices even the most finicky or stressed-out pet to drink.

· Bedding

Southern California is considered a high-desert climate and it can be quite cold at night in October even if it’s hot during the day. Be prepared with bedding that keeps your pet off the ground as well as blankets and jackets for dogs that are susceptible to cold.

· Shelter

Be sure to bring a kennel or cage where your pet can retire and relax away from noise, people, heat/sun, and predators with some sense of privacy/security for when the war becomes overwhelming. This is very important for animals that stress in unfamiliar places.

· The Essentials

Medication, poop-bags, bowls, extra collar and leash, sunscreen, chew toys/bones, treats, brush, etc.

· First Aid Kit

This doesn’t have to be elaborate, but why not be prepared with a waterproof kit containing the basics for minor problems. Some examples: Hydrogen Peroxide, Betadine solution/scrub, Antibiotic ointment, Antibacterial pads/wipes, Tweezers and/or sterile needle (for ticks and splinters), Scissors, Syringe (to flush a wound), Sterile gauze pads/bandaging material, Ace bandage/vet wrap (for bandaging, stabilizing joints/bones or a make-shift muzzle), Vaseline/Bag Balm, Instant ice pack/heat pack, Towels, Bandana or cloth strips, Cotton and q-tips, Milk of Magnesia (for stomach upset and some types of poison ingestion), Pepto Bismol (for stomach upset and some types of poison ingestion; do not give to cats), Kaopectate (OK for cats and dogs), Benadryl (for allergic reactions, bug bites, and stings), Aspirin (for dogs only, NOT ibuprofen or acetaminophen, 1 tablet/60lbs), Gentle pet sedative such as Rescue Remedy (available at health food and some pet supply stores), Can of wet food (can help reduce effect of poisoning), Flashlight, Thermometer (know your pet’s baseline temperature in advance. Average temperature for cats and dogs is between 100.5-102.5 degrees F), Compact thermal blanket (for shock/cold), Emergency number for local vet along with directions (also good to include your personal vet’s contact info as well as copies of vaccination records, medications and medical history if applicable).

Ready your canine athlete

If you plan to participate in the lure coursing activities be sure to come prepared with a hound that is in relatively good physical condition. Just like human weekend-warriors that overdo it, dogs can become sore or injured when asked to do activities at levels they are not accustomed to. Spend the time at home working up to a good fitness level and you’ll be more likely to come home from war with a healthy, happy dog. Simply walking your dog for 20 minutes at a good pace every day plus a full out run once or twice a week will prepare your canine athlete for a war full of great coursing.

Horses of War

Bringing your destrier to war!

Traveling with horses requires plenty of planning and preparation, but knowing your horse will be safe and comfortable in a new setting will bring you much peace of mind. Make a list of essentials that you can double-check before leaving to ensure nothing vital is forgotten. Here is a start, but be sure to customize your list with items important to your four-legged friend.

· Emergency Contact Card – You’ll want to be easily reachable should your horse become sick or injured while you’re at the war. Contact cards are available in most tack stores, but making your own custom emergency card and laminating it is easy and more permanent. Be sure to include your modern name, SCA name, mobile number, home number, Barony or household you’re camping with, camping space and the number of the on-call vet you’re using at war. Punch holes through the laminated card and attach to your horse’s temporary pipe stall with plastic ties.

· Health and Vaccination Records – Be sure to bring copies of all your shot records. Many vaccinations require a few weeks’ time to protect your horse, so consult with your vet and don’t wait to update your vaccinations until the weekend before war! For those traveling over state lines you’ll need a health certificate and proof of negative Coggins issued by your vet within 30 days of your travel date.

· West Nile Virus – Make sure your horse has been vaccinated against West Nile virus. The Great Western War site is beside a lake where mosquitos can breed, and birds at the site have tested positive for West Nile in previous years. In order to avoid catching the virus, horses whose immunizations are not up-to-date should be left at home. For more information on West Nile virus in horses, see the US Department of Agriculture page

· Food – Horses have delicate digestive systems susceptible to colic with sudden changes of food, levels of protein, reduced amounts of hydration and stress. Your safest bet is to bring the hay or feed your horse is currently eating so there is no sudden change in diet. Be sensitive to the timing of his usual meal schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Bring enough for the days you’ll be stabling at war plus a couple days extra for an emergency situation.

· Buckets – Bring them for water, manure, supplements, bathing, etc.

· Supplements / Medications – Pack any supplements or medication your horse needs in a water-proof, bug-proof, horse-proof container. Don’t forget to bring the feed you mix it into if applicable. And it’s always good to have Bute on hand for emergencies.

· Electrolytes – Because hydration is so important, especially with heightened levels of activity and stress that comes with war, be sure to bring electrolytes just in case. Easily available at most tack stores, they come in a convenient powder form that can be mixed in with water or in a paste form that can be given orally like a wormer.

· Tack – How many times have you trailered out and forgotten a bridle or girth? Make a complete list of every piece of tack you need as well as brushes, sweat-scrapers, fly spray, etc. and check through the list before leaving. Bring extras of critical things that might break or fail like a halter and lead, etc. If you plan to dress your horse up, don’t forget your caparisons and be ready to do quick fitting alterations if necessary.

· Blankets – If your horse is used to being blanketed at night or not used to sleeping under the stars, be sure to bring temperature-appropriate blankets and covers. A waterproof blanket is good to have even though rain is rare in October.)

· Bedding – A couple bags of shavings in your temporary stall will make your horse more comfortable and help insulate him from cold while laying down.

· First Aid Kit – Horses are notorious for cuts, scrapes and other emergencies. Be sure to have the contact number of the closest on-call vet and farrier and pack first aid basics such as Betadine scrub, Hydrogen Peroxide, cotton, sterile pads, bandaging, vet wrap, blue coat powder, Corona or Antibiotic cream, Bute, calming supplements, liniments, electrolytes, thermometer, K-Y or Vaseline, syringe, Benadryl, portable ice/heat packs, scissors, wire cutters, latex gloves, insect repellant/sting kit, etc.

· Baseline Vitals – Familiarize yourself with your horse’s baseline readings before traveling so you know when things are going wrong.

· Average horse temperature: 99-101° F

· Average horse heart rate: 28-44 beats/min

· Average respiratory rate: 8-20 breaths/min

· Average capillary refill time (check on gums) 1-2 seconds

Ready your equine athlete – If you plan to participate in the equestrian games, tournaments, trail rides, etc., be sure to come prepared with a horse that has physically trained for the endurance and strength required. Just like human weekend-warriors that overdo it, horses can become sore or injured when asked to do activities at levels they are not accustomed to. Spend the time at home working up to a good fitness level and you’ll be more likely to come home from war with a healthy, happy horse.

All Other Animals

The only animals allowed to be brought on site are dogs, cats, and horses. (You may not bring birds, rodents, reptiles, etc. from home–Only dogs, cats, or horses.)

There is no fee for pets (dog or cat). Horse registration is separate from camper (human) registration fees.

Most of the common sense tips associated with canines will serve you well with any other pet you plan to bring to war. Make sure your pet has species-appropriate vaccines, especially rabies just in case anyone should get bitten. Pack enough food for the entire war plus two days extra. Bring the water your pet usually drinks if you can to avoid upsetting their diet. Probably one of the most important things to remember is to provide a warm, quiet, safe place your pet can retire to should he or she be overwhelmed with the war. Warmth is key, especially at night, as smaller bodies tend to lose heat faster. Please consult a vet for appropriate temperature levels you should aim for.

You’ll also want to tag your pet if possible with information on how to find you should you unintentionally part company. Remember, Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area is full of wildlife that preys on small creatures. Do not leave your small pet outside (even in a cage) unattended.

Birds at GWW

No pet birds may be brought to GWW. While there are wild birds and sometimes even geese onsite at GWW, you may not bring any birds from home (whether parrots, chickens, etc.). The only home animals allowed to be brought to GWW site are dogs, cats, and horses.

Ferrets are Illegal in California

You may not have Ferrets with you at GWW. They remain illegal in California. Please see the following from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Welcome to GWW XXVI

GWW XXVI dates are up, Oct 8th-14th! Preregistration will be opening June 1st. We look forward to see you all. Stay Tuned for details.

Welcome to Great Western War!

Gate Hours for War

10/8 Tuesday Noon to Midnight.

10/9 Wednesday  8:00 AM- Midnight.

10/10 Thursday 8:00 AM- Midnight.

10/11 Friday 12:01 AM- Midnight (24 hours).

10/12 Saturday 12:01 AM- 4:00 PM