Planning for your Pet’s Future (without you in it)

About halfway into a return flight home from Tucson at Christmastime, we were informed via intercom our landing gear wasn’t functioning and that we would have to make an emergency crash landing.

I scanned those around me, watching the color drain out of their faces. Instantly, many of our eyes and cheeks were wet with tears. There were no phone calls to be made to loved ones, no way to prepare for our probable and impending deaths. By now we only had about fifty minutes, much of which was spent listening to the flight attend yell, “Get down! Stay down!”

I prayed. I cried. I spoke kind words to loved ones who couldn’t hear me. I felt terrible I wouldn’t make it home to my husband. And I was devastated my dogs wouldn’t understand why I never came home. But I was able to take solace in the fact they would have my husband’s familiar love and care.

Thankfully, somehow, the landing gear did end up functioning properly and we were able to make a safe landing. And I made it home to my husband and my dogs. I was never so happy to see them as I was that night.

The thing is, none of us knows when our time will be. Do you have a plan for your pet if you don’t make it home from a trip? Even if it is a trip to work or the store?

It’s not pleasant to think about our death. But perhaps equally as unpleasant is the thought of what would happen to our pets if we’re suddenly unable to care for them. Will a family member be coming to pick them up to bring them home to live with them and their pets? Will they live out their days frolicking with a trusted friend or neighbor? Or will they end up abandoned at a shelter? Or worse yet, a pound with a high turnover because the no-kill shelters were already at capacity with no openings in sight?

Most of us consider our pets to be members of our family. We wouldn’t for an instant leave a spouse or significant other with an uncertain and unstable future; much less a child, ill-equipped to fend for, provide or advocate for herself. The same would seem true for our pets. They depend on us to care for them, provide for them, love them.

Don’t delay: create a plan for care of your pet in case of your sudden absence. Who will agree to take custody of her for the remainder of her life? Who will pay for her care? Not only for food, but also medications, flea/tick and heart-worm medication, vet care, dental care and vaccines, possible future surgeries, or other ongoing care as she ages. Then make sure you document your plan in your will or other legal way to ensure your wishes for your pet’s care are carried out.

Most of us are sad to leave our pets at home while go out to run errands or leave them home while we go to work for the day. We fear they’ll be bored, scared, lonely, sad. What would happen if we never came home?