When Your Pet Outlives You!
If you died unexpectedly, what would happen to your pet? Most people are totally unprepared in case of an unfortunate accident or catastrophic illness. Too many pets are abandoned or euthanized after their owner dies because they have not planned for their pet’s future. Pet owners should name a caregiver in case of an emergency. You should carry an ‘In Case Of Emergency’ pet card in your wallet.
You cannot rely on relatives to take your pet in. Consider this a wake up call and start planning for the care of your pet.
Most people just assume that if something happens to them, a family member will step up and take the responsibility of caring for the pet they left behind. This does happen, but not always. You cannot count on local rescue groups to save them.
You need to leave written instructions for fast, temporary care. All pertinent information about your pet should be kept with the written instructions.
If you have appointed a caretaker, you need to have all of your pet’s records available.
If you live alone, make sure that your appointed pet caretaker has a key and knows your pet.
Preparing a Pet Information Card:
Do this today! It provides immediate instructions in the event death or hospitalization prevents you from returning home to your pets. (Source: When Your Pet Outlives You*)
1. Create a profile
- List and describe household pets.
- List contact info of emergency care providers.
- Keep card in wallet/purse.
2. Set up a pet ID file
- Create a file for each pet that includes a photo, vaccination and medical records, and current medication.
- Include contact info of veterinarian, pet sitters, neighbors and/or a boarding kennel.
- Are any pets in cages or crates? If so, why? Are there special instructions?
- Does pet have a microchip?
- List meal instructions.
- List socialization needs (e.g., cats that grew up together and should stay that way).
- Make info easy for others to access. Put a note on the fridge telling where file can be found.
3. Name emergency caretaker(s)
- Make sure each caretaker has a house key and knows where pet files are located.
- Discuss expectations in advance.
*When Your Pet Out Lives You by David Congalton and Charlotte Alexander, Paperback, 147 pages June 2002
PerPETual Care; Who Will Look After Your Pets if You’re Not Around? By Lisa Rogak, August 15, 2002
Do not depend on verbal agreements. It is important to have something in writing. Sometimes having a will isn’t enough.
DIFFERENT LAWS APPLY IN EACH STATE, YOU NEED TO CONTACT A PET FRIENDLY ATTORNEY THAT CAN HELP YOU MAKE PROVISIONS IN YOUR WILL FOR YOUR PET.
Make sure your dog is taken care of if it out lives you….