Many pets end up in shelters when their owner passes away. Some are even euthanized because nobody else is willing to take them, or can’t. Appointing a guardian for your pet should be as important as appointing a guardian for your children, in the event of your death.
When Should You Appoint a Pet Guardian?
Young, healthy pet owners do not even give a thought to who would care for their pet if something happened to them. Unfortunately even young healthy people can have accidents that may land them in a hospital or worse.
Knowing that someone is ready to step in and take your pet will be a great relief, even if you are in a hospital for a short while. In the event that the accident is fatal, someone is already aware of the fact that they have agreed to take your pet.
This can resolve the problem of your pet sitting in a house alone and hungry for hours or even days, because no one was aware that they needed to go get the pet. It can be traumatizing to the pet and family members if someone finally realizes that your pet is not being cared for!
You should make arrangements with someone to be the guardian as soon as you acquire a pet. It should be someone close to you and the pet, and who knows the pet’s daily routine. Who, in your family or friends, does your pet seem to take a liking to? Someone the pet already knows and likes would make an ideal guardian.
Should Couples Appoint a Pet Guardian?
Just as couples discuss who would take their children, they should discuss who would take their pets in the event something was to happen to the both of them. We all believe nothing will happen to both of us at the same time. Unfortunately, there are accidents that have claimed the lives of couples at the same time.
If you appoint a guardian for your pet in the event something happens to the both of you, you should still discuss what to do with a pet that may belong to only one of you. Perhaps your spouse or significant other has not got the time, nor desire to care for a pet that you care for solely.
Discuss it openly and honestly, before you are faced with what to do with your spouse’s pet if something happened to them. When my husband was losing his battle to cancer, one of his concerns was the two dogs he loved dearly. He was their main caregiver their entire life. Truthfully, one was a large dog, and he knew I was afraid of large dogs.
Assuring my husband that his beloved pets would stay with me, in their familiar surroundings, eased his mind during his illness. The big dog and I learned to accept and trust each other, and together we battled the grief of losing him. Now she is my dog and I love her dearly.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Appoint a Pet Guardian?
You may or may not need to consult an attorney to arrange for pet guardianship. The answer to this depends on how detailed you want to be. In most situations, I would say probably not, but if you have money that you plan to leave in a trust for the pet’s care, then yes, it is probably wise to have a legal paper drawn up.
Most of the time, you can simply talk to family members or friends and let your wishes be known. Let them know that you do not want your beloved pet to go to a shelter, or a stranger’s home. If you have someone in mind that you think would be a good fit with your pet, ask them if they would take your pet if something happens to you.
For pet owners that have no family or friends that would take the pet, there are other options where you can make arrangements in advance to safe guard your pet’s welfare. We will discuss these options in a later article.
Related Article By This Writer: ( How I learned to be the caregiver to my husband’s big dog)
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