Recently, one of my (very organized) clients and I had a discussion about what would happen to their dogs in case something happened to them and they couldn’t ever come home. It’s not the most pleasant of conversations, but let’s face it, accidents and awful situations happen. In the case of your untimely demise, do you have a plan as to who will take care of your pet? Not only short-term but …for the lifetime of your pet? If so, that’s great. But you might want to let your pet sitter know the plan. Since your sitter might have a house key, that person would be the first person to call in an emergency, or at least to let your pet’s designated guardian into the house, if needed. If you don’t have a plan, think about enacting one. After all, a new year is around the corner, so it’s a great time to get organized and provide long term care for your pet, who is depending on you! Here are some ideas on emergency preparedness for your pets:
1. Select a long term guardian to take your pet. Most people choose family or a close friend they can ask. Whoever it is should have a pet-friendly and pet-proofed (safe) home, with no pet allergies.
2. Select the “go-to” person who will enter your home to care for your pet immediately after your accident, and until permanent help will arrive. Most people choose their regular pet sitter, friend, or neighbor who has a key or can enter the home.
3. Carry an emergency card in your wallet listing emergency contact names, phone numbers, addresses, etc. I found a great one here: https://www.amazon.com/RXBC2011-Emergency-Cards-Alone-Wallet/dp/B082LV8W9V/ref=sr_1_32?crid=129WBUAUCU2AC&dchild=1&keywords=emergency+cards+for+wallet&qid=1607973793&sprefix=emergency+card%2Caps%2C214&sr=8-32
4. Write out a plan and leave it with your will or important papers. Leave a copy with your attorney also.
5. Have a conversation with your pet sitter to see if he/she can take care of your pets short term until your long term plan is activated. Or, if that’s not an affordable option, research places to keep/board your pet short term or long term. For example, a local boarding kennel could help short term. My client has a plan in place for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to take his dogs long term.
6. To make sure the short and long term pet care providers are paid for their efforts, you can leave an amount of money in your will, or better yet, my client gives me a large check each year to keep on file, in case I need it for emergencies such as this. Since it’s never used, I shred it at the end of each year. Or if I needed it, I’d already have the check to immediately step in and take care of his pets and home until the permanent caregivers took over.
Our pets count on us for all their needs…food, water, shelter, love. Be sure to continue the best care for them in case you couldn’t be there for them anymore. Get your plan written down and share it with the important people in your pet’s life (family, friends and caregivers) today!