Fact: Millions of beloved pets are abandoned and euthanized each year due to being unwanted after the owner has passed away or is unable to care for the pet any longer.
Although we don’t wish to think about things like death, they are a reality.
As responsible pet owners, it behooves us to consider what would happen to our pet if we pre- deceased them?
This is topic that needs more widespread attention, especially if you are in your Senior years and own a pet.
If the pet is a Senior as well, this becomes even more important to seriously put into place a plan for who will care for that pet if you should die before it does, or if you need to go into the hospital or even long term care.
What exactly is succession planning?
Broadly speaking, the word succession means ‘replacement’.
With this in mind, we are talking about who will step-in, or ‘replace’ you, the pets owner, if something should render you incapable of caring for your animal-friend.
We can’t make assumptions that family or friends will be willing to take over the care of our animal and its needs.
No, instead we need to ‘have the conversation’, with two, separate individuals whom we love and trust and vice versa, and who are more than happy to take over the care of your cherished pet.
Here are some simple steps to follow to ensure the safe-keeping of your animal companion if you are no longer able to:
- Select two people to talk to about your plan. We say 2, just in-case something happens to one of them, the other deemed caregiver can take over.
- Put it in writing. Once there is a verbal agreement between the identified caregivers of your pet, create a simple document that sets out your wishes, describes your pet’s needs, your vet, any and all information needed for continued quality care of your pet.
- Share the information. Make sure that the two people have each other’s contact information and a copy of the agreement of care.
- If you already have a will, this information needs to be added to your will. If you don’t have a will, Ontario doesn’t have any specific legislation about who or how your pet would be cared for and could step in to decide how your estate will be handled…this includes your pet. Best to have a specific document, with your wishes, signed by all parties with copies given to those involved.
- If you don’t have anyone who would care for your pet, then pre-selecting a no-kill animal shelter that would take your pet and care for it, while attempting to find a good home for it, is a last resort. Keep in mind, if your pet is elderly, the likely-hood of adoption is greatly decreased. Better to have a personal friend or family member, agree in writing, to tend to your precious animal.
- Keep a Pet Alert card in your wallet with the contact names of the assigned caregivers.
- Post an ‘in case of emergency’ notices on your doors, indicating the number and types of pets inside.
We love our pets and want to keep them safe and well cared for should anything happen to us.
Pre-planning is the key!