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The Importance of Making Placement Plans for Your Pets Should You Pass Before Them

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Making placement plans for your pets should you pass before them is not an easy topic to discuss. It's something no one 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.

We at Woody's Place Senior German Shepherd Sanctuary get many requests from families to place a senior German Shepherd belonging 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 your the dog. You're up in years, so you're a bit achy, slow, and have some difficulties seeing, hearing, and getting around, but your human loved you, always cared for you, and ensured you were comfortable. You were happy with your human and your daily routine. Then one day, you wake up, your human is gone, and now someone is stopping by once in the morning and once at night to feed you and take you out to potty, but that's it. The rest of the day, the house is quiet and dark. You're scared and lonely, so you start to panic and tear up carpets, dig through the trash, and even chew up your bed.

Furthermore, you can't wait all day to go potty, so you potty in the house even though you know it's bad. Then when the person arrives, they yell at you for having an accident inside and tearing up the carpet, trash, and your bed. You don't mean to misbehave, but your life has changed so much that this is what you do. You just want your human back, but that doesn't happen. Unfortunately, this is an all too realistic scenario.

Now you can see why it's essential to have that tough conversation with your family and make sure they are on board with taking your pets should you pass before them, no matter what age your pets are and how healthy you may or may not be. Even if your family absolutely can not take your pets if you should pass before them, then there are steps you can take to ensure that they don't end up in a cold, loud, over-crowded, scary 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 that, for a fee, will provide care and housing for your pets until they find them a good home.

It's also important to put in writing a letter of instructions to ensure that the transition for your pets from their home to a new home goes as smoothly as possible. 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 good with small children, pulling on the leash, or being scared of thunderstorms.

Furthermore, life can be cruel, and sometimes unexpected things happen, so it doesn't hurt to give a friend or family member a key to your home in case something suddenly should happen to you so that they can care for your pets in the interim. Also, carry a piece of paper in your wallet or purse stating you have pets at home, the type, age, etc. So if something happens to you when you are away from home, someone can check on them.

Most importantly, think ahead, have that conversation about who would take your pets if you are no longer able to, and plan, plan, plan. It is uncomfortable to discuss, and no one wants to think about it, but do you want your faithful, loyal, loving pets to end up in an already overcrowded shelter where they will be mourning the loss of their owner and be scared and confused.

If you love your pets, please take the time to plan and talk with your family, friends, or an attorney and caregiver.

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