Tuesday, May 5, 2015

★ What Happens To Your Pets If Something Happens To You? ★

 If something unexpected happens, be it severe illness or death, it is crucial to have arrangements in place to provide for your pets’ well-being.  The future is uncertain and, no matter what age we are, planning to ensure that our pets continue to receive the same care we give them is one of our duties as responsible pet guardians.

Many times when a guardian has an unexpected accident, illness or death, their pets may be unnoticed in the turmoil that ensues.  To insure that pets are not forgotten in the confusion, you can take a few simple advance measures.

First, identify those people who would be willing to be either temporary or permanent guardians should something untoward happen.  If you cannot find friends or relatives willing to take the responsibility, perhaps your veterinarian, an animal rescue group or another animal related business can provide information to assist in locating potential caregivers.  Once guardians are arranged, make sure that friends and relatives are aware of who they are and that they are also given the necessary contact information.  In addition, carry an “Alert Card” with you at all times.  The card will inform authorities that you have pet(s) at home and whom they need to contact to oversee their care.

Post “In Case of Emergency” signs on doors or windows which lists how many and what types of pets are in the home to alert any emergency personnel that arrive.  Be sure to keep the information current.  The ASPCA provides a free safety pack that includes window decal alerts (https://www.aspca.org/form/free-pet-safety-pack).  In addition, fasten in an easily seen location a listing of emergency contact names and numbers that responding personnel can notify should you be unable to care for your pets.

Create information sheets for each pet you have.  These documents will provide the necessary information that a guardian will require.  Even if you do not have a definitive future plan for your pets, the information will prove to be invaluable in helping find them a new home should the need arise.  If you would like a pet information sheet, please email petstehama@gmail.com and we will be happy to provide you with one.  If you would prefer to create your own, be sure to include: pet name, sex, date of birth, breed, spay/neuter status, microchip ID No., license issuer location and tag #, diet, special needs, medical conditions and medications given, behavior traits, veterinary information, daily routine, and any other pertinent information that will prove beneficial to a future caregiver.  These sheets should be readily accessible and should be distributed to anyone who might care for your pet(s).

There are many options when planning for the future of your pet.  The best way to be sure your wishes are fulfilled is to make arrangements that specifically cover the pets’ care.  It would be in the pets’ best interests that you consult an attorney to draw up a will, trust or other legal document that outlines your specific wants, including what funds will be allotted for the care of the pets.

It is especially important to develop a plan if you have more than one pet and want them to stay together.  One person may not be willing, or able, to take care of all your animals.  There are facilities that can house and care for multiple animals and provide long-term care.  However, understand that your pets are companion animals and have received your loving care and affection for some time, and may become distressed by being confined on a long-term basis.  Before making any decision, visit the facility to witness how the animals will be treated, and be sure to choose a reputable organization with an established record of care.

If you want to prevent your pets from becoming homeless, with the possibility of ending up in a shelter facing an unknown future, then now is the perfect time to formulate a plan in case something unexpected happens to you.



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