Dear Sara and readers,
Last week, we talked mostly about the money aspects of providing for your pets when you are unable to and we promised that in this column we would talk about all the other decisions you need to make and steps you need to take to be ready for that grim but inevitable time.
First, money to spare or not, do the easy things so that whoever comes in to help your animals won’t have to start from scratch.
Have a folder for each pet with their veterinary records, food preferences, habits, good or bad, any special instructions about their care, and even a photo to identify each one, and make sure ii is easy to find or that a neighbor or friend knows about it.
Carry a pet card in your wallet, letting people know, if you are incapacitated away from home, that your pets are in your home and in need of care.
Put one of those pets in the house signs in your window in case there is an emergency at your house, the worst case scenario being a fire, so that first responders know that they are there and how many.
Think seriously about whom you can ask to be the first line of care for your pets if something happens.
On an informal basis, perhaps you have a close friend or relative who is an animal lover and who has the means and compassion to be available to take your pets if necessary.
Talk to that person in detail now, don’t spring it on her at the last possible minute.
Make sure she (or he) understands what you are asking for and whether you are able to provide any resources to help out.
Only you know your friends and family well enough to judge whether this is a safe alternative for your pets.
And you might want to have more than one person lined up.
People’s situations change and a backup plan is a good idea.
On a more formal basis, under New York law you can set up a pet trust, where you leave a reasonable amount of money for the care of your pets and the person receiving it has a legal responsibility to use that money as intended.
To do that you need to consult with your estate planning attorney, and, again, you need to talk to the person whom you intend to designate as the trustee of the funds.
There is very good information on the ASPCA website about pet trusts.
You can find it at this address: www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-planning/pet-trust-primer.
You can make similar provisions for your pets in your will, but that is not recommended as the best alternative as there can be a delay in having the provisions of your will put into place, all to the detriment of your pets.
A pet trust is a much more direct and easy to administer approach.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about and talk about.
But, maybe it will lead to some wonderful (and revealing) conversations with friends, family, even your attorney, about the importance of your pets in your life and theirs.
We all like to talk about our pets, don’t we?
The Oswego County Humane Society has moved to a new location, 29 W. Seneca St., in Oswego.
Watch for the announcement about our open house.
OCHS provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Now located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.