How to Make A Plan for Your Pet If You Are No Longer Able to Care for Them

Animals frequently end up at risk in shelters because their owner was injured, hospitalized, passed away, or was in some way unable to physically care for them. 14-year old beloved Cooper ended up at the county’s animal control the same day his owner died because there wasn’t a plan for him. The stress of the kennel environment, a lack of constant supervision, and no access to veterinary care due to limited facility capabilities caused Cooper’s decline and death in 8 days. Don’t let this happen to you: make a plan for your pet and make a plan for your loved ones’ pets. This one’s for you, Cooper.

How can you make a plan for your pet if something happens to you?

Start with who you know: family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, local pet lovers you may only know through social media, your vet clinic staff, your neighborhood pet store staff. Hopefully, there is someone in your life that understands how much you cherish your pet and would love nothing more than to open their own heart and home to them if you pass.

If there is no one you can think of or who will agree to adopt your pet as their own, understand where your pet can and will end up. Make sure you know how your city or county’s animal intake is handled (if there is one specific animal control or shelter that accepts all intakes and disperses them or if there are multiple open-access facilities) and their policies. Do they allow rescue groups to pull animals from them? Do they euthanize animals due to space constraints? Do they believe that an older animal is “adoptable?” Contact your local shelters/rescues to see if they offer any assistance in planning or offer the option to take ownership of your pet should something ever happen to you. If you adopted your pet from a non-profit organization, check their policies and the adoption contract you signed – it may be required that the pet be returned to them if they become homeless.

Lastly, communicate your plan verbally or in writing. Know who your pet is going to or where they are going to. You can even ensure they are set up for success by setting aside some money for their future care.

We’ve created a form to make it easy to start the conversation and share your wishes with others.

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