Last year, when a family member passed away, several dogs were left behind, suddenly homeless. Fortunately, other family members quickly stepped in and adopted and found good homes for the dogs.
The situation made me think, “If something happens to me, what will happen to my dog?”
Pets are family members. The sad thing is that thousands of companion animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and others – are surrendered to shelters every year because their human caregivers died or were too ill to care for them. In some cases, with the elderly, relocation to nursing homes means loss of their companion. In many cases, especially with an unexpected death, the animals became homeless because no plans had been made for their continued care.
Would you leave your children without some type of plan for their care? For many people, their pets are their children. Providing care for pets is a lifetime commitment. Who will take over this commitment when you no longer can?
It’s a New Year, and time to get around to some of those things that you’ve put off for too long. Now is as good a time as any to take a few minutes, contact friends and relatives to identify people who would be willing to care for your pets in the hours, days, or weeks after an emergency; as well as those who would be able to adopt them if you no longer will be able to care for them.
If you don’t know of any friends or relatives who can fill your shoes, you can contact some of the local animal rescue groups or shelters for help and advice.
Animal Care Sanctuary (ACS) in East Smithfield and in Wellsboro has a program just for this situation so that you don’t leave your pets with a complete stranger making critical decisions for their care. They offer some advice including the following thoughts and questions as you make plans:
Prepare written instructions outlining how your pets should be cared for. How do you want your pets to live – in another household or in a sanctuary? What kind of special care do your pets require? Do you want your pets to stay together? To make sure your wishes are followed, you must document your instructions and let others know where these instructions are located. Consider setting aside funds to cover temporary or permanent care of your pets.
According to ACS, having a plan in place will give you peace of mind knowing that your companion animals will always be cared for if something happens to you.
For more information call ACS in East Smithfield at (570) 596-2200 or in Wellsboro at (570) 724-3687.
Deb Harer, who has had a dog for several years, recently adopted another dog from a family situation just like the one in this article.
“I became aware Porscha needed a home when both of her owners passed away within a short time of each other,” said Harer, adding, “Adopting Porscha has been a joy for both myself and Bentley. After 24 hours of simply liking each other, they are now inseparable.”
Since Porscha was older than Bentley, Harer was worried how they would adjust.
“The only adjusting needed was a couple days of coordinating eating with pottying,” continued Harer. “These two dogs (and me) do everything together.”
As for the future for her two companions, Harer has learned from Porscha’s family.
“Bentley came home with me four years ago when he was a puppy. I never thought to make prior arrangements for him, like I did my home in the event I am no longer able to take care of him,” said Harer. “I love these fur babies much more than my home! Both Bentley and Porscha now have a prearranged home in case it is needed. I urge everyone to plan for this.”
Think about it. What will happen to them if something happens to you?