8/12/2014 | By Terri L. Jones

Because our pets’ lifespan is so much shorter than ours, we find ourselves adjusting to a quiet house and an empty lap again and again throughout our lives. Those are sad days! However, as melancholy as you are when your pets pass away, imagine how Fido and Fluffy, who rely on you for their every meal, shot, scratch and walk, would be if you were gone.

Unfortunately, this day may come. While you’re still able, make sure that someone else can take care of your pets’ needs when you can’t anymore.

Assign a pet guardian. There’s certainly no replacement for you in your little guy’s or girl’s eyes, but be sure that your second string is someone he or she knows and someone you trust to treat that big ball of fur like you would. Stay in touch with that person so you are aware if their circumstances change. Always be sure to have options if your first choice can’t fulfill your wishes after you’re gone.

In the short term. Should something unexpected happen and the permanent caregiver is not able to take custody of your little buddy right away, also assign a temporary caregiver. That person, who should have all of your pet’s care information, can pitch in until your dog or cat’s new parent can take over.

In the case of an emergency. Leave nothing to chance if something should suddenly happen. Post notices on doors or windows specifying how many pets you have and the types (cat or dog, tabby or terrier), so emergency response workers, as well as your friends, family and neighbors don’t overlook anyone in their panic.

Draw up a document. It isn’t enough to simply talk to a family member or friend about taking your animals if you become sick or die. If you want to feel confident that your pet will have the care they need, you have to make legal. Work with an attorney to draw up a special will, trust or other legal document to specify your wishes for your furry friend as well as the funds to make those wishes possible. Granted, you don’t have to leave $12 million to your pet like Leona Helmsley, but try to put aside enough money to properly care for them throughout their life.

Have something to add?  Share it in the comments.  Let us know if you’ve put plans in place for your dog or cat.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones