Who Inherits Your Pet?
Make sure your beloved animal is cared for, even if you become ill or die unexpectedly
“It happens almost every day. People say, my parent has gone into hospice, and the dogs have to go somewhere,” says Amy Shever, founder and director of 2nd Chance 4 Pets, a Sacramento, California-based nonprofit that helps people plan for the possibility that their pets may outlive them. “That’s the hard thing — when it becomes a desperate situation.”
Help Is Out There
Prepare For the Unexpected
“Everyone should have a plan in place for pet care,” Stevens says. HSUS recommends pet owners take the following steps to protect their pet in case of death or if a sudden illness or accident leaves them incapacitated:
- Find two responsible friends or relatives willing to serve as temporary emergency caregivers. Give them keys to your home, care and feeding instructions, and your veterinarian’s contact information. Inform them about any behavioral or health issues, as well as any permanent care provisions. You can write a contract to reimburse them for whatever costs they incur.
- Make sure your neighbors, friends and relatives know how many pets you have, and give them your designated caregivers’ contact information.
- Write your emergency caregivers’ contact information on an alert card that you can carry in your wallet.
- Post “in case of emergency” signs about your pets on your doors or windows for first responders, and post designated caregivers’ contact info inside your doors.