It's a topic you'd probably rather not think about -- what would happen to your dog if you could no longer provide care? -- if you became ill or incapacitated or "went on ahead"?
When you have a senior dog, if something unfortunate should happen to you, the prospect of getting help with caring for your dog or finding a new home for your dog becomes a greater challenge than if your dog were young. It's definitely something to think about.....even if you'd rather be out hiking or playing with your dog right now.
Here are some ways to approach the issue......
Pet Peace of Mind is an organization with a nationwide program. Here is their statement: "Pet Peace of Mind is the only national program providing a care model for the pets of seriously ill patients, including helping orphaned pets find a loving new home when necessary. Our program trains them to support each patient’s pet care needs in practical ways by using specially trained local volunteers to help patients with their pet care needs." Find out more by visiting the Pet Peace of Mind website.
While you're still healthy, it's not a bad idea to look at some of these issues:
Financial -- Best legal advice is that you set up a Trust to cover the expenses of taking care of your dog. Making provision for your dog in a Will is complicated by the legalities of executing it. A Trust ensures financial support is readily available without delay.
Adoption/Caregiving Structure -- Identify a person or other entity that you can entrust to take care of your dog. If you don't have a relative or friend willing and able to commit to it, here is a list of sanctuaries and rescue groups that you can look into. As you can imagine, however, these groups are overwhelmed with requests for help with placing dogs who have been "left behind." It makes sense to find a reliable friend or relative.
Data Collection -- The details of your dog's health and happiness should ideally be pulled together into a form that can accompany your dog to a new home. You have probably already begun putting such information in writing for the person who takes care of your dog when you're away from home. Just be sure it's up to date and accessible. Here's a list of information to include:
- Name and nicknames
- Estimated age
- Feeding habits (portion sizes, dietary restrictions, special treats)
- Veterinarian info and medical records
- Medical conditions, medications
- Favorite toys
- Favorite Activities
- Special quirks: Scared of thunder, doesn’t like to be picked up
(The list is adapted from the everplans site, where you can read more about the topic of planning for your dog's future.)
Further coverage of this topic, with other resources:
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
Grey Muzzle Organization
Second Chance for Pets
Dancing Creek Farm