- Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet. Printable PET PROFILE DOWNLOAD
- Make sure your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.
- Carry a wallet “alert card” that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers. Printable ALERT CARD DOWNLOAD.
- Post removable “in case of emergency” notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency-response personnel during a fire or other home emergency. Don’t use stickers; hard-to-remove stickers are often left behind by former residents, so firefighters may assume that the sticker is outdated or, worse, they may risk their lives trying to find a pet no longer in the house.
- Affix to the inside of your front and back doors a removable notice listing emergency contact names and phone numbers. Because pets need care daily and will need immediate attention should you die or become incapacitated, the importance of making these informal arrangements for temporary caregiving cannot be overemphasized.
Be specific but simple: “I leave my dog Happy to my friend Jane Doe.” If you decide to set up a revocable living trust before your death, the instructions are the same, although it’s your choice on whether the caretaker and trustee are the same person (see below).
You should always discuss such arrangements with the person in question beforehand. Just as you should never buy a pet as a gift for someone who isn’t expecting it, you shouldn’t make your beloved dog an unwanted surprise after your funeral. LIVING WILL _ADVANCE DIRECTIVE DOWNLOAD
Remember, if you designate an amount of money to care for your dog to a specific person but do not also specify that your dog still needs to be alive, courts will probably rule that they get the money anyway.
It is possible, by the way, to avoid any problems with the money being misused by leaving it to your veterinarian instead, with a specific written agreement on how much they will get and what treatment they are expected to provide in exchange. Again, plan ahead and discuss it with your vet well in advance of the need.