Planning for the possibility that your pet outlives you
by Amy Shever, founder, 2nd Chance 4 Pets
It can be difficult to think about leaving our pets behind, but that’s exactly why we should consider how to ensure their long-term care. Developing a lifetime care plan provides peace of mind. You’ll know that the animals you love will always have the kind of life you want for them — even if you’re no longer able to provide it.
More than 500,000 pets enter U.S. shelters each year because they have outlived their pet parents. Too often, these pets do not adjust well to shelter living. They refuse to eat, get sick, and may respond to the situation with aggression and fear. When this happens, many of these pets are labeled “unadoptable”. These pets’ lives are at risk because their owners didn’t plan for their continued care.
Here’s what a comprehensive lifetime care plan includes:
- Caregivers: Identify people who could take care of your pets temporarily during an emergency, or who would adopt your pets should you die or become too ill or injured to care for them. If you cannot find friends, relatives, or neighbors who can make this commitment, your veterinarian or local animal rescue groups may be able to help you find a potential backup caregiver.
- Instructions: Do you want your pets to live in a new household or in a sanctuary? What kind of special care do they require? Should your pets to stay together? To make sure that your wishes are followed, your instructions must be written down and someone must know where to find them.
- Financing: You currently pay for food, housing, supplies, and medical care for your pets. Those expenses don’t stop when you aren’t here to pay them. You may want to set aside funds for foster care, transportation to a new home, and/or the ongoing care for your pets.
A qualified financial or estate planner can help you arrange the lifetime care plan that works for you and your pets.
For additional information and a free pet care instructions guide, visit: www.2ndchance4pets.org.
Article originally published in CAT Tails Issue 4