Thank you to Amy Shever, Director of 2nd Chance 4 Pets, for writing this informative guest blog article! Have you thought about what would happen to your pets should something happen to you? More than half a million companion animals are surrendered to US shelters each year simply because their human passed away or became ill without a plan for their continued care. Perhaps one of the most important questions you should ask yourself is, “Who will care for my pets should I no longer be able to?” This is a difficult question especially if your pets have “special needs” or if you have no suitable friends or relatives to care for them. Do you leave this decision up to a stranger or do you make the decision yourself? It’s not always a simple task, however, pet owners have a responsibility to provide care for their pets, and this is a critical issue for any responsible pet owner.

What if you have no one to designate as a potential caregiver for your pets? Discuss the situation with your veterinarian, local pet sitters and local animal welfare organizations. They may be able to help you find the right people that are capable of caring for your pets should you no longer be able to. If you are unable to identify a caregiver for your pets, you might consider appointing several individuals, such as veterinarians, family members, and friends, to an “animal care panel” which would be charged with the responsibility of locating a suitable caregiver. The panel could use various means to locate a proper caregiver such as consulting with local animal welfare organizations. The panel would interview prospective caregivers and select the person it feels would provide the best care for your pets.

Another option is a “lifetime care program”, sanctuary or facility. Thoroughly evaluate a facility or program before you “sign up”. You may consider engaging an attorney to finalize the arrangements or contract with the program you select. If the program sounds like a good fit for your pets do visit the facility before making your final decision.

So before you decide on the next “toy of the month” ask yourself, “Who will be my pets’ caregiver should I no longer be able to care for them myself?”.

For more resources on lifetime care planning for your pets, visit www.2ndchance4pets.org. 2nd Chance 4 Pets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, that focuses on helping to make sure pet owners have planned for the possibility that their pets might outlive them.

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