Patsy was left behind when her mom passed awayLaura Bruck
SOUTH EUCLID, Oh
The past several Adopt-a-Pet articles have had something in common; animals left behind when someone passes away without making arrangements for their four-legged companions. My little Patsy was one of five Chihuahuas left behind when their mom died. If not for PAWS, my sweet little girl and her siblings would have ended up in a shelter--or worse.
We tend to think that, if the worst should happen, someone would step up and provide a loving home for our animals. But who will that someone be? As we've learned from these articles we can't take for granted that friends or family members will come to the rescue. And while no one likes to think about their own mortality, tragedy can be averted by making some "just in case" arrangements.
The first step is, of course, to choose the right "god parent" or parents for your pets. The following tips should be kept in mind when doing so:
- Choose someone who is emotionally and financially able to take on this responsibility, and who takes this commitment as seriously as you do.
- Choose someone who already knows and loves your pet. If he or she already has pets, make sure that everyone gets along.
- Choose someone who treats their own animals the way you do, and shares your views of "pet parenting."
- Once you've come to an agreement, check in with your pets' god parents from time to time to make sure they're still willing and able to follow through, and always have a back-up plan in case things change.
Next, write a letter that details your pets' routine, likes and dislikes, etc. Put that letter, along with your vet records, in an envelope labeled with the god parent's name and contact information. Give one copy to everyone involved and leave one in your home with your important papers.
Tell family and friends about your arrangements, and post a note ("In case of emergency, please call XXX at XXX-XXX-XXXX to care for my pets") in your home where it will be seen (such as on the refrigerator). Because my emergency medical contacts happen to be my dog Kevin's god mother and my pet sitter, both would be notified by the hospital in an emergency. In addition, my dogs' ID tags have my phone number on one side and my pet sitter's on the other.
Finally, make everything official by putting your arrangements in your will and, if possible, set aside funds to help care for your animals.
Our pets have only us to depend upon, and taking the time to make sure they will always be safe, loved and cared for is the best way to leave them a legacy of love.
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