What if you are killed in a horrible car accident today? Who’s going to feed the dog?
Find some wood, knock on it and know that I mean you no ill will. It’s a horrible thought, but one that should be considered thoroughly and seriously.
On a casual day many years ago, I received the heartbreaking call that my father had passed away. It was not expected. Dad had two cats, an older Maine Coon and a younger, black, short haired cat. Everyone loved the Maine Coon, he was mysterious, elusive, beautiful and he and my dad had a special bond. The sad black cat on the other hand was “just a cat.” He didn’t really have a relationship with my dad and he was very plain.
I began handling my father’s affairs, that included finding loving homes for the cats. People were fighting over the Maine Coon; no one wanted the poor younger boy.
I had moved into a rental a few days before my father’s passing, I immediately went to my new land lady with eager anticipation to bring the black kitty into my new home. She denied me. She flat out denied me and threatened me if she found the cat on her property…
Now what? What would I do with this little cat? He was young, healthy, no one wanted him and I couldn’t keep him. After begging and pleading with friends and family, I took that cat to the Humane Society in my area. I am still traumatized by having to sign the release form that allows them to euthanize the animal if they can’t find it a home. They could not guarantee me he would get adopted. They would not keep me informed as to his fate. To leave him there was one of the most traumatic things I have ever done in my life. I felt like my Dad was disappointed in me. I felt like a horrible abuser to this poor cat who deserved so much better than a lottery’s chance at life.
Lesson learned. Cats and dogs may not seem to have the same burden on an estate as a child. I propose that they do.
If you have a will or a trust, did your attorney ask about children and perhaps offer advise on what role your children will play regarding your estate? Did they then ask about your pets?
I remember the first few times I asked pet sitting clients, “What happens to your pets if you never come home?” At first it was awkward for me. Then it was awkward for them. Now it’s one of my favorite questions to ask. By having the conversation, we can at least create a loose plan for our pets.
One woman told me very quickly that her brother would be in charge of her pets if she passed away. Only 5 minutes earlier, she was going over her dogs quirks and habits and explained to me that her dogs despised her brother and he despised them equally. Does that sound like a great fit for those dogs?
Another woman immediately named her niece as the best caretaker of her diabetic cat if she were to pass. Followed by the information that the niece had many cats and her cat couldn’t live in a multi-cat household.
The take away? Will you spend just a couple minutes thinking of who will care for your pets when you cannot? There is a fantastic resource that asks great questions to get you thinking about what your pets true needs are and helps to get that information to the people that may need it one day: http://2ndchance4pets.org/2nd%20Chance%204%20Pets%20Nov%202008%20Newsletter.pdf
It’s just a conversation, a few minutes of thought. Aren’t your pets worth it?
Next post- what happens if your plan fails and how you can avoid issues.