Who will care for your pet when you are gone?

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| 2 min. read |

Pets run the risk of having no one to look after them should their owners fall ill or pass away unexpectedly. Avoid a sad situation by setting up a pet care directive as part of your ICE (in case of emergency) plan or will. 

People love their pets.

They provide warmth and affection, they're always glad to see us, and they make us feel needed. It's no wonder people are mad for their furry friends. 

But what would happen to yours if you were suddenly to be hospitalized or worse? Here are a few ways to ensure your pets are provided for if disaster strikes.

True Story

A few years ago, a great family friend, Jerry, fell ill suddenly and passed away. He had a cat he absolutely doted on, and the care of the cat became an issue.  

His son was allergic to animals, and his daughter had two massive dogs who were not “cat-friendly.” Soon, the idea of the pound was bandied about, a terrible solution, but the only one they thought they had. 

Fast-forward to Jerry's funeral, where the daughter told my step-mom of the dilemma. My step-mom, in turn, told my dad – and before they knew it, they had a feline friend at home. 

This story had a happy ending, but not all do. What can you do to prevent your much-loved pet from being dumped in the local pound? Create a pet care directive!

Pet Care Directives

A pet care directive is a way to ensure your animals are taken care of if something were to happen to you. In general, there are two types: one for emergencies and one in case of death. 

To set up an ICE instruction for your pets, start by asking two people you trust to be designated as caregivers in case something happens to you. Why two? Having back-up is a good idea in case one person is unavailable.  

Make sure these people have keys to your home, your vet's info, and feeding and medication instructions. Tell neighbors, friends,and family who the designees are so that if something happens, they will know who to call. For added protection, keep the emergency caregivers' names and phone numbers in your wallet. 

To make arrangements for the care of your pets after your death, add instructions to your will, such as what type of food your pet eats, where to find your pet's vaccination records, the name of the vet you use to make the transition as easy as possible for both the pet and the new owner.

Remember, having a pet is a personal responsibility and an expense, so be sure to have a frank conversation about your pets' needs with the person you want to designate before you make it official. 

A few things to mention are whether you have set aside any money to help in the animals' care after you're gone, if you have any wishes for what to do when your pets eventually pass on, and where you want any remaining funds to go after your pets dies. These can be informally passed on to the future owner but making these part of your will is a more formal step. If the caregiver is informed these instructions are part of a legal agreement that has been pre-arranged with them, there is a greater chance your wishes will be taken seriously. 

It would also be best to know if the person you're is entreating care to has the kind of life that is suited to pets. It's all fine and good that they love Sparky when they come to your house, but would Sparky fit in well at theirs? For example, if your pet needs long morning walks, or needs space to run, or doesn't play well with other animals or kids, then take these things into consideration when choosing a new forever family. 

If no one in your life is willing, able, or trusted enough to look after your pets, consider setting aside money and organize their care with a chosen rescue center that is willing to cater to them. If the animals haven't got a new home to go to immediately, then the rescue center will look after them until they are adopted r pass on themselves. Arrange for any cash left over to be donated to the center as a thank you for their care. 








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