By Author Laurie Plessala
I’m not talking about a plan for what you’re going to do with your dog today. I mean, have you put in place a plan for what happens to your dog if you are suddenly called away or incapacitated? If you haven’t, please don’t delay one more day. Your dog’s life may literally depend on you making a good plan for them.
The need to plan can arise in various situations.
1. You have to leave town due to an emergency.
If there is a sudden death or emergency, you may need to leave on little to no notice. Have you made arrangementswith one or more friends to take care of your dog? If they’re unavailable, have you identified a kennel or other place where you can bring your dog on almost no notice? Have you inspected that place to be sure it is suitable?
No one wants an emergency and no one wants to have to leave their dog. But it can happen. Just last weekend, my Dad was taken to the hospital and I was afraid I would need to fly to Texas as I wouldn’t have time to drive. We have just moved to Florida, and I realized that I had made no plan as to what I would do with Beau if he couldn’t drive with me.
Luckily, I didn’t have to leave and my Dad recovered. So instead, I spent my time last week identifying a good boarding facility (No cages! Tender loving care from the owner!) and took him to spend one night so that he could see that I wasn’t abandoning him and would come back the next day. If you have a rescue, I think it is ESPECIALLY important that you not just drop them off somewhere they’ve never been. That already happened at least once in their life and they were shattered by it. Being left in a strange place without you for any length of time could be emotionally devastating for them, so you need to prepare them. Talk to them, send a blanket or object with your scent if you can, and do a trial run so that they see you come back. It also gives you a chance to evaluate the facility you chose.
2. You become ill or injured for a long period of time.
Sorry, not a cheery subject. But it happens. One of my clients at my dog pool went to the emergency room for a persistent fever one night and didn’t come home for 6 weeks because she had leukemia and had to begin treatment immediately. She didn’t have a plan for her dog. Her neighbors pitched in – they fed him, walked him, and even brought him to his swims. It was stressful for him and stressful for them, and he was really alone in the house for most of the day at an advanced age. An all-around terrible situation. Please talk to your friends and family about who might be able to come get your dog and care for him until you’re well. Also, please have on your phone, in your wallet, or in your purse a card that lets people know that you have a dog, where he is, and who to call. If you’re in an accident and can’t communicate, your dog could be left alone for days.
3. You die with no provision in your will about what happens to your dog.
You’ve probably decided who will get your real estate and personal property when you die. Hopefully you have a will. Be sure that you also make arrangements for someone to care for your dog when you die and put it in writing.
Let’s face it, none of us really plan on dying unexpectedly. We worry far more about our dogs dying before us. But it happens, and it can have devastating results for your beloved dog. Dogs end up in shelters and sometimes euthanized because their person hadn’t identified anyone to take care of them in the event of their death.
If you don’t have a will, please make one. Until then, please talk to your friends about who would be willing to care for your dog and have at least three people who would step up to do it. You never know what situation someone might be in years down the road, regardless of what they promised you. While the law varies from state to state, most have some legal way for you to put money in a trust for your dog when you die. Think about the expense of veterinary care and basic expenses. When you ask someone to take your dog, you’re asking them to spend potentially a lot of money. If you have some money that you can set aside for your dog’s care, do it. It’s a bit of an insurance policy that your dog will get the care that he needs should he become ill.
I don’t want any of these things to happen to you! I also don’t want your dog to suffer or lose his life if they do! So please, make a plan for your dog.