Our animal companions are an important part of our families, and we know how much they depend on us. That is why it is important for us to make careful preparations now for their future care in case they outlive us. There are steps that you can incorporate into your emergency and long-term planning to ensure that your animal companions will receive the loving care that they are accustomed to and to make the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
The following are some steps you can take to ensure that your animal companions are cared for:
- Identify one or more people who can come into your home at a moment’s notice to care for and console your animals until their long-term care is organised. It is important for these carers to be familiar with your animals and vice versa.
- A file on each of your animals should be kept at your home. These will be helpful in an emergency as well as for finding new homes, if necessary. Each file should include, at a minimum, the names of people to contact in an emergency; the animal’s name, age, and sex; the name and location of your veterinarian; the animal’s diet, feeding schedule, personality, and likes and dislikes; and a description of their current lifestyle. The files should be updated at least once a year, and critical information should be carried in your handbag or wallet as well.
- Nominate a long-term guardian for your animals, which should be someone you trust. It is a good idea to name one or more back-ups, if possible.
- Consult your solicitor to complete your plans. You should consider providing for the future of your animal companions in your estate plans.
- Put an “Animals in Here” sticker on your door or window in case there is an emergency, especially if you have animals who might hide from strangers.
You can download our free information sheet for more guidance on ensuring the well-being of your animal companions once you are gone.