As I have gotten more involved with the rescue over the past year, I see and hear about the amount of emails and phone calls that come pouring in on a daily basis. Shelters asking for help, for their urgent dogs. Owners asking for their dog to be rehomed, for various reasons. Families or friends asking for help with a dog, who’s owner has passed away. It seems to be never ending. There is ALWAYS a dog in need. The ones that make me the saddest are the senior dogs. They’ve lived a seemingly good life, in the arms of an owner who has spent many years caring for them. And then one day, they end up at a shelter. I’m going to skip past the
sorry-no-good-lousy people that dump their senior dog at a shelter (no judging here!), and move on to the ones that have medical issues that cause them to give up their dog.
For example, today I saw this girl:
Her name is Bo. She is a senior boxer, taken to a shelter because her owner had a stroke and can no longer take care of her. She didn’t “do anything wrong”, she wasn’t dumped or unwanted. How sad for her to possibly live her last days in a shelter, and then be put to sleep, just because something happened to her owner that no one could have prevented.
This made me think…what would happen to my dogs? If, God Forbid, some emergency happened and I was no longer able to take care of my dogs, where would they go? I love having two dogs, but I never expect anyone else to open their home to them. Would they end up at a shelter? Would they be split up? Being split up into loving homes would obviously be better than a shelter.
Now I can honestly say that I have wonderful parents, and a few really great friends, that I feel certain my dogs would be cared for. Maybe they couldn’t take Lucy & Oscar in themselves, but they would help make sure they were within the “family” and loved forever. (Chris, San, Erin, Angela, Jenn, Morgan, Theresa…I’m talking about you, so take note!)
Of course, in time of a crisis or an unexpected death, you can’t be sure how people will act or feel. So what do you do? Do you create official arrangements, in writing? How do you know if someone says today that they are willing to take your pet, that they will feel the same in 2, 3, or even 6 years?
While Lucy, I think, would be fine without another permanent dog, I truly believe Oscar needs a home with at least one other dog. He loves being part of a pack, he feeds off of the other dog, and whines when he is separated from them. Lucy is weird about food. How can I make sure that someone knows this? Oscar loves to play and wrestle, but he needs some chill out time too otherwise his leg hurts too much. There is so much that we just know as a pet parent. How do we make sure someone else knows how to care for our dogs, if something happens to us?
I started researching to see what I could find, as far as making plans for your pet in the case of a life altering emergency/event. I found this great article by the Humane Society. “Providing Your Pet’s Future Without You” (click the title to read the article) It provides a lot of tips on setting up a temporary caregiver as well as a long term caregiver for your pet, in the event of emergency or death. I also found another article to be helpful as well. It is by Dog Law, called “Strategies for Taking Care of Pets.”
I think this is an important topic to think about and discuss. More than once, I have seen news stories about missing dogs that ran from the scene of a car accident. I have my dogs in the car with me all the time. I want to be sure that someone will care for my dogs, no matter what has happened to me.
So, tell me…have you made plans for your dog, in the event that something happen to you? Do you think it is a silly concept? What if you were on the receiving side, with a friend asking you to be their dog’s caregiver? Would you be willing to sign a legal document, stating that you were the “emergency contact” for a dog? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*All of the senior dogs in this post are available for adoption. Please message me if you would like more details on providing a forever home for them!