Planning for the Inevitable: Living Arrangements for Surviving Pets

It goes without saying that nobody wants to think about death. But unless you’re planning on some sort of sci-fi ending involving a cryogenic freeze and rebirth, the truth is we’re all going to go someday. One of the last things people think of, as far as long-term, is what would happen to my pets after I’m gone. Generally, it’s not until people age, and the concept becomes more relevant that they start to give it any thought.

Pet Planning

The problem is, even if you have family that will outlive you, do they want to take on the responsibility of caring for your pets? And even if they say yes, do they really mean it, and can you actually count on them once you’re not around? People who care about you will say almost anything to make you happy. Regardless, you do have options, whether you realize it or not. If you’re flush, then you can always consider leaving your pets some or all of your money.

Photo: Pixabay/joaph

Pet Trust

According to the ASPCA, a pet trust is probably a better idea than will instructions, as delays in estate administration can drag on for months or even years, leaving your pets hanging until it’s settled. As they note, it’s important to think about who would care for your pets in the event of your inability, illness, or even death and to implement a plan to prevent your pets from ending up in a shelter where their future remains uncertain.

Pet Retirement Homes

One solution would be to find a facility in your area that takes in pets whose owners are no longer around or able to care for them. And it just so happens a handful of facilities have started to crop up that are dedicated to doing that very thing. For instance, for cats, there’s the Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians, a private, limited-intake rescue organization dedicated to providing shelter and loving care for felines made homeless due to the terminal illness, incapacitation, or death of their owners.

labrador retriever
Photo: Pixabay/Chiemsee2016

Dog & Cat Sanctuaries

Gaithersburg, MD, is home to House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary for pets. Sanctuary residents are senior and special needs dogs and cats who have lost their families and homes through no fault of their own. A nonprofit, once a dog or cat becomes a House with a Heart resident, it has a loving home for life.

Shannon Foundation

The Shannon Foundation Farm in rural central Missouri covers 100 acres. The farm is a permanent sanctuary for animals that mainly come from rescue situations ranging from abuse and abandonment to pets whose owners have passed away. The animals are given every opportunity to live out their lives enjoying the peacefulness of nature, including spacious pastures, acres of woodland, a pond, and a running stream.

Photo: Pixabay/Alexas_Fotos

Heaven Sent

Rather than a pet trust or a will, you could always consider donating a sum of money to a facility like one of these with the understanding that they’d care for your pets ’til the end. The people who create sanctuaries or havens do so for the love of animals and would do just about anything for them. They also survive on donations and volunteer help to keep the animals in their care safe and comfortable.

Letting It All Sink In

If your pets are likely to outlive you, start thinking about them and how you’d like to see them cared for in the future. Even if you’re young, it’s still something to think about. Check into options in your area. Doing so will be one less difficult decision to worry about later on for you and your survivors.

People, Pets & Planet

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