Posted in cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pig, pets, rabbits, shelter animals

What if?

If something happens to you, how will your pet or pets be cared for?
Hopefully you’ve already considered and chosen a personal guardian for each of your human children, and have some experience with making similar plans. (If you haven’t considered making a will and choosing a guardian before now, for your children’s sake, you’ll do it ASAP.)
Many people with pets feel equally attached to a pet, as though it’s a child. How will your pet be cared for, if and when you’re gone? It can be heart-wrenching for some folks to consider.
But what happens if you’re not prepared?
Ask any pet owner from any of the states who survived a tornado or flood or other natural disaster, but couldn’t save a beloved pet because pets weren’t allowed where they were sheltered. In these circumstances, many people choose to stay behind with their pets, risking their own lives to be with them. Of an estimated quarter-million pets that were in the path of Hurricane Katrina, only approximately 15 thousand were reportedly rescued.
Since Hurricane Katrina, nearly a dozen states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting people and their pets during disasters. The PETS Act of 2006 which became Public Law 109-308 on October 6, 2006, also addresses the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals following a major disaster or emergency.
This is of little or no comfort if your pet may survive you. Think about it: who would you like to look after your pet?
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a pet’s guardian:
• Does he or she like your pet, and is your pet comfortable with its prospective caretaker?
• Does he or she have pets who get along well with your pet?
• Is the guardian certain there are no pet allergies, and no restrictions against pets where this person lives?
• Does he or she have time to care for your animal?
• Can the prospective guardian afford to take your pet in, or will you provide money for its care?
After careful consideration, a friend of mine added a provision in her will for her pets to be euthanized after her death. Another has chosen an animal sanctuary to look after her pets, with funding to be taken from her estate. Discuss these options with your lawyer, because adding these items to your will should be considered carefully.
Choosing a friend or relative who can care for your animals is ideal, but it’s important to discuss this with your prospective caretaker in advance.
Animal shelters might be considered a last resort, but they’re also a good place to find mature pets in need of a home. If you don’t want your pet to be subject to an unknown destiny, begin making plans for their future today. No one can be certain what tomorrow may bring.

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Owned by three cats over age 13