We love our dogs and treat them like family. But, have we all made the necessary provisions to keep them safe in the event of an unforeseen tragedy? Do you know where your dog(s) will go if something happens to you?
Having worked with dog rescue organizations in the past, I have seen, firsthand, many situations that lead family dogs down the path of homelessness. An elderly owner who falls and ends up in a nursing home, a tragic car accident that takes the life of an owner, an aging owner who has become unstable on his/her feet and can not risk being knocked over by their dog; the list goes on and on.
The situations are sad and unexpected and they leave the family dog in a precarious position.
Being responsible for our pets goes beyond providing necessary vet care, comfortable beds and high quality food. Looking ahead to the unexpected is part of that responsibility. Owners can draw up a will that includes provisions for their pets. At the very least, an owner should talk to his/her family members (both immediate and extended) to see if there is someone that is both willing AND able to take on the responsibility of the dog (or cat) in the event of a death or debilitating accident. Many times, there is an assumption that the family will care for the dog(s) if something happens to the owner, but more often than not, the family is not in the position to be able to take this added responsibility on.
Frantic pleas to local rescues are often the first course of action for the family members caught up in the emotional aftermath of an unexpected loss. If the family is lucky, there will be a rescue organization that has an opening for the dog. If luck is not on their side, the once loved dog(s) may end up in a shelter where his/her future is uncertain at best. I shudder to think of the number of beloved pets who end up in this tragic circumstance; alone, dejected, and confused.
Take a few moments to talk to your family and your friends and see what type of provisions you need to make for your pets. If you are lucky, your family will be both willing and able to take your dog into their home and continue loving them as you have. If family is not an option, consider talking to your dog loving friends to see if they might be willing to step up and help when/if an accident occurs.
It’s never easy to think of the “what ifs” that life can throw our way, but being prepared is the responsible, loving thing to do.
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