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Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

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According to 2nd Chance 4 Pets, over 500,000 companion animals are relinquished to U.S. shelters and euthanized each year due to the death or disability of their human companions. (Photo from 2nd Chance 4 Pets, courtesy of Clay Myers, Best Friends Animal Society)

According to 2nd Chance 4 Pets, over 500,000 companion animals are relinquished to U.S. shelters and euthanized each year due to the death or disability of their human companions.

(Photo from 2nd Chance 4 Pets, courtesy of Clay Myers, Best Friends Animal Society

Out of the Cage! (Holiday 2008)

Planning for Your Pet's Care if You're Not Around

The lifetime commitment you've made to your companion animals involves many things, including planning for their care should something happen to prevent you from caring for them. Just as with any member of your family, having a plan in place for their care in your absence can give you peace of mind and ensure that their well being is maintained.

Each year, thousands of companion animals across the country are surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations because their human caregivers died or became disabled. Because their humans had not made arrangements for their care, these animals suddenly became homeless.

You can avoid that unhappy fate for your companion animals if you take the necessary steps now, and make those important decisions that otherwise a complete stranger might have to make if your companion animals outlive you. You'll want to identify (and gain agreement from) people who will be willing and able to care for your pet. Prepare detailed written instructions describing how you wish your pet cared for. And set aside funds to be used for food, supplies, and veterinary care for your pet. More than 36 states have pet trust laws or statutes in place, as more and more pet owner/guardians are including their companion animals in their wills.

If no one is available to take on that commitment for your pet, investigate and carefully screen other options, such as sanctuaries and perpetual care programs.

While it's a topic many people wish to avoid, planning for your pet's care if you can no longer provide it can mean the difference between life and death for your beloved companion animal. An outstanding organization called 2nd Chance 4 Pets, an all-volunteer non-profit organization working throughout the country, provides comprehensive information about lifetime care to pet owner/guardians as well as to animal rescue organizations, veterinarians, and hospices.

This holiday season might be a good time to give a gift of advance planning to your companion animals. Why not start off the new year with that extra peace of mind?