Making provision for your dog in the event that you can't look after him - short or long term may be unpleasant but it's an issue you should consider. You can hear excellent advice on the subject from Dawn Antoniak Mitchell from the BonaFide Dog Academy in Episode 53 of DogCast Radio. Here's some more information on the subject:
Planning for pets when their owners die
is an important responsibility
According to website My Last Song, people’s pet are often overlooked when their owners die, go into long term care or are just too infirm to look after them properly.
My Last Song, the website that encourages people to take responsibility for their end of life issues, gives advice on making sure pets are planned for in advance.
“When a neighbour died several years ago I realised the problems that pets can face,” says My Last Song founder Paul Hensby. “I ended up looking after her pets because her family said they were going to be put down.”
Other circumstances when pets should be planned for in advance include the owner going into long term care and becoming too infirm or confused to look after their animals properly.
My Last Song lists the recommended options when ‘planning for pets’:
- Family members taking over the ownership;
- Close friends agreeing to take on the pets;
- Neighbours – especially suitable for cats;
- Local vets may know clients who will look after the pets;
- Pet shop or supplier – likely to take back pets such as fish and reptiles;
- Animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and the Blue Cross.
Planning for pets should be done well in advance, says Hensby. “To ask a relative, friend or neighbour to look after your pet is to ask them to accept a big responsibility. It should be something discussed and agreed, and is as important as dealing with other possessions in your estate.”
My Last Song offers visitors a Lifebox where they store their end of life decisions and details needed by close family and executors when they die.
“To their credit, the RSPCA and Dogs Trust run schemes to look after the pets whose owners have died, but even so the best solution is to agree with family, friends or neighbours who is most willing and appropriate to take over the responsibility of looking after the pets.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: "The RSPCA's Home for Life service means you can rest assured that the RSPCA will be there for your beloved pets after you pass on. All it takes to set up the service is a simple clause in your will instructing that care of your pets is handed over to the RSPCA after your death."