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Please, Remember Me

You did your homework, made an informed and heartfelt decision, and adopted a new family member who is now loved by one and all. He is now enjoying his wonderful carefree life with you, getting regular exercise, being fed and getting lots of love. But suddenly that life is shattered and the happy pup everyone knew and loved is confused and terrified.

What happened?? It could be anything from a sudden fatal car accident, heart attack or stroke or the unexpected diagnosis of a life threatening or terminal illness. In a heartbeat, the person this pet has looked to for a safe loving home may not be there.

As humans, especially when we are younger, we often go through life without thinking of death or life altering circumstances. If we do think of these things on occasion, it’s because we’ve heard of the sudden passing of a dear friend or relative. Life has its ups and downs and we find a way to deal with it, but what about our four legged friends that are left behind?

Pets are a big part of your family, and just like the rest of your loved ones, children, parents, aunts and uncles, all may be suddenly faced with big changes and decisions to make. Unfortunately, just like minor children, pets have no voice or say as to what the future will hold for them, so now is the time to consider “what if”.

Most responsible adults plan for their future by investing and saving their money in RRSP’s and other pension plans. They usually take stock of their assets and have Wills and Powers of Attorney prepared and may even set up Trust Accounts for their minor children or other dependent children for whom they are responsible. When making our Wills and setting up Trust accounts, it is important to give special thought and consideration to also include provisions for the furry four-legged “dependent kids” you have.

All too often when tragedy occurs we are never prepared and our pets tend to be at the bottom of the totem pole. If you have adopted a new family member or two, please be sure that you make adequate provisions for them and be sure that your wishes are put in writing. Also have a copy of your wishes for those people who may become involved in the care of your pet and ensure they are prepared to take care of them. In a lot of cases, there are people out there who know and love your pet and have developed a relationship with them but, since they are not members of your family, may be excluded from any decisions regarding your furry friend.

Recently a lady we knew was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her family was aware of her wishes regarding her pet and the friend she trusted to take him as well as monetary compensation for his care. However, the lady did not put her wishes in writing and, when she passed away, her family refused to give her friend the dog or any money to care for him. Since the family did not want the dog, he was put down. This should never have happened and, in the end, it was the dog that suffered.

Like people our pets have feelings and become confused and frightened when their routine is disrupted. In time of crisis it is especially important to keep your pet’s routine as regular as possible. So while you sit and relax with your morning coffee, take a few minutes to think about what would happen to your furry friends if you weren’t there anymore or became unable to continue to care for them. You should make notes and have a talk with your family and friends so you can finalize decisions while you are able. Make sure that your wishes and decisions are put in writing, and be sure that you have copies given to everyone concerned. In this way, if the day comes that you are hurt or unable to make decisions, you will know that your wishes will be fulfilled and your four-legged friends will not suffer and will be well cared for.

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