SUGGESTIONS FOR PREPARING FOR
It’s never too early to start
preparing for the ongoing care of your companion animals just in case
they found themselves without you to care for them. Take the time now
to establish a record of your pets. Include such things as their
health status, medications they may be taking and any special dietary
needs. List the contact information of the veterinarian who has been
caring for them and sign whatever may be necessary for your pet’s
records to be shared with a caretaker or a new owner or released to a
new clinic. And keep this information updated.
Write a personality profile on
each of your animals so the person taking over will be able to proceed
with some understanding of your pet’s temperament. List favorite
foods, favorite toys, anything that would help your pet be comfortable
in strange surroundings as he makes the transition to a new home.
If possible, find a family member, friend or neighbor who can act on
behalf of your animals should you not be able to do so in an
emergency. And be sure to include them and your veterinarian on your
list of emergency phone numbers.
You should also consider writing a
will or living trust that gives instructions for your pet’s immediate
care and future should you become unable to express your wishes or
should they outlive you.
If possible set up a trust fund
to allow for the expense of their care and designate a trustee for
Make sure you note everything
you’ve decided upon in your will or living trust document. And be sure
you leave a copy with your family so they are aware you have specific
instructions regarding your companion animals and inform your
veterinarian of your wishes as well.
You can check with your local
humane society and your veterinarian to see if they have any forms
that could be of use to you as you set up legal documentation for the
ongoing care of your pets. Some clinics and humane societies have a
“Legacy of Caring” packet available for you to use.
Be specific about your wishes and
list the pets you are including in the document by name with any
instructions you want followed for their care. If you have a guardian
ready to step in and take over for you, be sure to include that
person’s name and contact information as well..
Taking the same steps for your companion animals that you would
take to insure the care of your family members and the distribution
of your material goods will ensure their future as well should you
not be there to provide for them. And creating something in writing
now will relieve family members of the burden of wondering what you
would want them to do.