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From Goodbye to Forever Home: Making Sure Your Pets Are Safe If Something Should Happen To You.

German Shepherd with person in background

Making placement plans for your pets should something happen to you is not an easy topic to discuss. It's something no one really wants to think about, let alone discuss, but it has to be discussed, and not just assume that your family will take care of your pets if something should happen to you.

At the Woody's Place Senior German Shepherd Sanctuary, we often receive heart-wrenching requests from families seeking to rehome a senior German Shepherd that once belonged to a loved one who has passed away. Often and unfortunately, the family can not take in the now-abandoned dog for various reasons such as:

  • Their lifestyle does not permit it.

  • They already have a dog who does not get along with other dogs.

  • Someone in the home is allergic to dogs.

  • They never agreed to take the dog in the first place.

  • They live in a rental property and can't have pets

  • They don't have the funds to care for a pet.

It's sad but true.

Now, imagine you're an old dog who feels achy and slow and has some trouble seeing, hearing, and moving around. Despite these challenges, your human has always been there for you, showing love and care to ensure your comfort. Your days were filled with contentment as you followed a familiar routine. But one morning, you wake up to find your human missing. Now, someone comes by only in the morning and at night to feed you and let you outside. The rest of the day is quiet and dim. Feeling scared and isolated, you start to panic, resorting to destructive behaviors like tearing up carpets, rummaging through trash, and even gnawing on your bed.

As the days pass, you find yourself waiting eagerly for someone to come by twice a day to feed you and take you outside to potty. But as time passes, the wait becomes too long, and you can't hold it any longer. You reluctantly relieve yourself inside the house, knowing it's not the right thing to do. When your caregiver finally shows up, they scold you for your accident. It's not that you want to misbehave, but your routine has changed so drastically that this is now your reality. You yearn for the familiar presence of your human companion, but that longing remains unfulfilled. Unfortunately, this is an all too realistic scenario.

German Shepherd with paw over face

Now you can see why it's important to have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones about who will care for your pets if something happens to you, no matter how old your furry friends are or how well you're feeling.

And if your family can't care for your pets after you're gone, there are ways to make sure they don't end up in a stressful shelter, such as:

  • Have two trusted friends lined up to care for your pets.

  • Work with an attorney to create a trust fund for your pets and appoint a permanent caretaker to care for them.

  • Consider an organization such as a sanctuary that, for a fee, will provide care and housing for your pets until they find them a good home or for the remainder of their life.

Creating a detailed care plan is also important to ensure that the new caregiver can provide proper care. Some things to consider:

  • The habits of each pet

  • Food and feeding schedule

  • Veterinary care information

  • List of medications and medical conditions.

  • Preferences include being good with other pets, not being good with small children, not liking ears being touched, pulling on the leash, and being scared of thunderstorms.

Furthermore, when it comes to planning ahead, it's always a good idea to share a spare key with a trusted friend or family member in case of any unexpected emergencies. This way, they can step in to look after your pets if needed.

Additionally, it can be helpful to carry a note in your wallet or purse detailing the types and pets at home. This way, if anything happens while you're out, someone can easily check on them for you.

woman and child with German Shepherd

In conclusion, ensuring the safety and well-being of our beloved pets in the event of unexpected circumstances is a responsibility that all pet owners should take seriously. By creating a detailed plan and communicating it with trusted individuals, we can provide peace of mind for ourselves and security for our furry companions. Remember to update your plan regularly and include important information such as medical records, feeding schedules, and emergency contacts. Our pets are our family members, and it's important to make sure they will be cared for no matter what. Take the time today to create a plan that will give you and your pets the security they deserve.


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