Fur the love of pets

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Planning for Pets After You're Gone

When we adopt dogs and cats, we expect to outlive them. Just in case life doesn't work out that way, make sure your four-legged family members will get the love and care they deserve.

Expecting the unexpected

Tragically, half a million animals are euthanized each year because their pet parents died or became ill without having made arrangements for them. The good news is, it only takes a little planning to ensure that whatever happens to you, your beloved companion will be okay.

Assemble your team

Perhaps you already have someone with keys to your place who will step in to care for your pet in a crisis. Next, consider who is best to give your puss or pup a forever home, and ask that person to accept the commitment. It doesn't hurt to have a backup. And even if you must leave your pet to a rescue or sanctuary, you'll need someone to oversee the transition.

Get it in writing

Write a Letter of Instruction, listing everything your pet's new caregivers would need to know—from medical requirements to favorite toys—and give copies to the folks you're counting on. If you plan to leave money for your pet's care, or you fear your instructions might be disputed, a legal beagle may advise you to create a Pet Trust, Pet Protection Agreement or Power of Attorney. Both the Humane Society and ASPCA websites detail the differences between these documents to help you choose.

Everyone, no matter how young or heathy, should plan for their pets' lifelong care. We owe it to our furry children to ensure that our wishes for them are known and carried out.