Dogs usually have shorter lifespan compared to humans. However, the opposite might also happen. What if the master of a pet dog becomes bedridden or what if the master dies leaving the dog behind? Who would look after the pet dog then? Who would provide water, food, and vet care to the beloved pet? Who would love the pet?
It is important that the owner of a pet dog plans and makes advance arrangements, in order to ensure that the beloved four-legged creature continues to get sufficient care and attention in the unfortunate event of the owner getting seriously ill or passing away.
How to ensure that Your Dog will receive Adequate Care if Something Happened to You:
a. Formal Arrangements
One should never rely on the fact that a friend had promised years back to take care of one’s pet! Formal arrangements should be made in order to secure the fact that the pet will be sufficiently taken care of in the absence of its master. One should work with a pet trust or a lawyer for the drafting of a special will or similar document that would stipulate the specific ownership and care of the dog and also the monetary sum needed to look after the pet.
b. Post Notices
The owner of a pet dog should post removable signs reading “In Case of Emergency” on his doors or windows. He should also always carry an “Alert” card in his wallet. In this way, in case of emergencies or home disasters like fire, adequately equipped personnel can be easily notified about the number of dogs one has at home.
c. Call People you Trust
The master of a pet dog must find a few reliable relatives and friends who would be ready to fill in as caregivers in case of an emergency. Should something unfortunate happen to the owner of the pet, the emergency caregivers can look after the helpless creature. The master should provide these friends with keys to the house, adequate pet care and feeding instructions, and the contact details of the vet.
There are 3 kinds of documents that can ensure that a pet dog is taken care of when the owner dies.
(1) Will: The usual purpose of a will is to distribute property.
(2) Pet Trust: The traditional and free-standing “pet trust” nominates a trustee that distributes the funds and makes sure that the person taking care of the pet follows the instructions of the owner.
(3) Pet Protection Agreement: This agreement is the pet trust of a layperson. It is a legally enforceable, affordable, and fill-in-the-blank document.
Is it enough to designate a Caretaker in the Will?
There are varying kinds of trusts and wills. Choosing the will or trust that is best for the owner and the pet depends on the situation of the owner and the needs of the pet. It is advisable that the master consults his lawyer before finalizing on any decision. However, a pet-owner should always be aware of the fact that merely mentioning his pet in a will does not typically provide sufficient protection for the pet’s care after the owner’s passing.
A will can designate a friend of the owner to take custody of the pet dog, but it can never force the friend to keep the pet, take care of it, or provide it with essential veterinary care.