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Planning Ahead for Your Pet Should You Die or Become Incapacitated

Typically our pets have a shorter life span than we do. However, there is a possibility that you could become disabled or die before your pet, if that happens who will take care of your pets when you are no longer able to?

When you have a pet you provide them with food, water, shelter, veterinary care and love. Planning ahead can guarantee that your pet will be well taken care of if something happens to you.

When a person becomes ill or dies unexpectedly, pets can easily go unnoticed because of the turmoil that goes along with this type of tragedy. A lot of times pets are discovered in the person’s home days later. Here are some safety measures to make sure that this does not happen to your pet:

• Choose two friends or relatives that would comply with your wishes to provide emergency care for your pet should something happen to you. Make sure they have keys to your home, instructions for care, your veterinarian’s name, and any information regarding the permanent care arrangements you have made for your pet.

• Let your neighbors, friends and relatives know what kinds of pets you have and how many of each. Also provide them with the contact information of the people who have agreed to provide emergency care for your pets. It’s also a good idea for the emergency caregivers to know how to reach each other.

• Inside your wallet you should have an “alert card” that contains the contact information for your emergency pet caregivers. Also, put the contact information on the refrigerator or ina place easily accessible for a friend or relative to find.

• Your doors and windows should have “in case of emergency” removable notices indicating how many and what types of pets you have. This is to alert first responders in case of a fire or other home emergency. It’s best not to use stickers because if they are hard to remove they typically get left behind by prior residents and firefighters may risk their lives for pets that are no longer in the home.

• Choose a permanent caregiver for your pet. It’s important to decide whether you want one person to care for all of your pets or if you want your pets to go to different people.If the permanent caregiver of your pet is not the same person as the emergency caregiver make sure each caregiver has the contact information of the other.

• The best way to ensure permanent care for your pet is to make formal arrangements. Work with an attorney to have the appropriate documents drafted for the care and ownership of your pet including money that will be necessary to care for him.

Planning ahead is crucial because pets need care daily. If you die or become incapacitated your pet will need immediate attention.

Linda M. Strohschein
Attorney at Law

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