Planning for your Pets
Planning for your pets is similar to considering a legal Will, many of us dread the thought of this type of planning. To be completely honest, some avoid the situation all together (yes, I’m one of them!). However, careful consideration needs to be taken when asking ourselves the question …who would look after our pets if something happened to us? Worst still, where would they go if you were to suddenly pass away and nobody wanted them?
It’s not a nice topic of conversation, but one that needs to be had in many fur-baby homes across the globe. Planning ahead will offer you peace-of-mind if something should ever happen unexpectedly. This is particularly important if you have multiple pets or are currently living alone. If your friends or family are in this type of situation; it’s a good idea to raise the question of who would take care of their animals if they were suddenly unable to do so.
Even if you are surrounded by pet loving friends and family, having this type of confirmation that a special ‘someone’ will look after your pets, or find them a loving home if something was to happen to you is very important.
Sadly, if nobody put their hand up to take your pets home during your illness or death, they may end up in a shelter. If you have a friend or family member who is terminally ill, help them with this information. Even if you cannot help them with a home for their pets, you can help them find a good home. The sooner the process begins the easier it will be to find the perfect solution and to help put their mind at ease.
Personally, I know my pets would be distraught to not only lose their beloved owner, but to also be possibly homeless. So, planning is important. In other words, it’s time to put your ‘big kid pants on’ and make some plans.
What type of things do you need to consider?
- Be realistic, if your best friend has three dogs, two cats and a handful of children, is it fair to ask them to take in your two dogs and two cats if something was to happen to you?
- Look for a friend or person who will be able to cope and understands the importance of pet ownership.
- Consider leaving some money in your Will for this person who will look after and/ or find a good home.
- Set up a Pet Trust for your companion animals, this can be done through your lawyer or legal advisor.
- Consider how much you want to leave for the care of your pet. Remember that if it is an extreme amount your family may contest the Will and leave your pet with much less.
Once you have found the perfect person, it’s also important to be honest and clearly outline your wishes for your pets. Remember, that your beloved companion animals will be grieving and will need lots of love and attention alongside feelings of security and routine. You can include things such as:
- Diet requirements
- Their favourite toys/ games
- Behaviour issues (e.g., Rover doesn’t like black dogs or Fluffy hates wet food.)
- Dog trainer contacts
- Vet contacts
- Microchip details
- Registration details
- Plus, detail your wishes of the type of life you want your pet to have in your absence and the type of life they are used to. Remember to put your rules down. Dogs in particularly thrive on routine, so keeping all the same rules will help them feel secure through their grief.
If this information is not urgent; it will need to be updated every few years, and always check that the nominated person is still OK for this arrangement. As the years go on, situations can change and you may need to find another family member or friend that can take on this very important role should anything ever happen.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, one cat, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy (and let’s not forget the axolotls!), she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership and working within the pet industry.