I’m going to be climbing up on a soapbox here. Now, you’ve been warned, so don’t complain, but please do hear me out. It’s a good soapbox.
Yesterday I picked up these two cats from the county shelter, which is a kill shelter, to take them to the no-kill shelter one county over. The cats had been adopted from the no kill shelter, but wound up back in the kill shelter when their owner died and the family didn’t want them. The no-kill shelter’s policy is to take back pets that were adopted from them in a case like that. The boys were obviously stressed, but will hopefully be re-adopted soon.
However, there was a third cat, who wasn’t adopted from the no-kill shelter. She also ended up in the kill shelter when the owner died. She’s still there because the no-kill shelter is full. We’re networking her, and I have a friend who may be able to take her, but right now she’s in the kill shelter, with limited time. Based on the boys’ demeanor, I imagine she’s frightened, and she doesn’t even have a buddy with her. The boys at least have each other.
The cats were in very good condition when I saw them; their coats and eyes looked good, they didn’t have fleas, and were well fed. It appears that they had a good home before their owner died and everything changed. The folks at the kill shelter said they were brought in by animal control because the family didn’t want anything to do with them. So that’s what brings me to today’s topic of planning for your pets, so that they still have a good home, even if something happens to you.
A couple of years ago hubby and I attended a pet planning workshop at the no kill shelter. It was put on by the shelter, a pet cemetery owner, and a local attorney. It was free and the email announcement about it was a real attention grabber; it had pictures of really cute fur kids and said something along the lines of, “If something happens to you today, what happens to me tomorrow?” So we decided to attend the workshop.
It was sort of sad, very enlightening, and absolutely worth our time. The folks from the shelter said that most of the time people don’t really think about what will happen to their pets if something should happen to them, or they just assume that their family will take them. The attorney said that “valuable” pets could be fought over, and the pet cemetery owner said some folks actually euthanize grandma’s dog to be buried with her.
There was also discussion about all of the practical things that someone willing to take on your pet might not know about if you haven’t made the proper arrangements: their vet, dietary issues, medications, behavior issues, etc. They also really drove home the point that shelters are full and thousands of adoptable pets are euthanized every single day. Pets whose owners have died without making arrangements for them probably aren’t going to fare well.
We were told that the way to go about making arrangements for your pets varies from state to state, so you need to check and see how it’s best handled in your area. It is definitely something that needs to be handled.
Fortunately for us,
Carolina addresses the issue of pet arrangements, so
our pets are included in our will. We
have a first and second choice for each fur kid, with the no kill shelter as
the back-up for all five fur kids. We’ve
talked to everyone we’d want a pet to go to and made sure they’re alright with
taking on the pet we had in mind. We
(hubby) have also created a spread sheet that lists everyone’s vet with their
contact information, medical issues, behavior issues, current food, and any
medications. We’ve also made sure that
the people involved know where to find this information and how to get in touch
with anyone they may need to.
I’ll be honest; it’s a little weird to think about something happening to both of us. It’s not the most comfortable conversation to have when you talk to someone about taking care of your pet if something happens to you. Some people think it’s a little morbid. I like to think of it as being prepared. Yes, hubby and I are young, but things happen. No one is promised seeing a ripe old age. We promised the fur kids we’d take care of them for the rest of their lives. If that happens to be longer than the rest of ours I like knowing that they’ll be cared for.
So, please, if you have pets, make the necessary arrangements for their care in the event of something happening to you. I'll climb down from my soapbox now.