Did you know that if you or your parent(s) don’t have legal wishes/requests in place for their animals, the consequences could actually affect the future residence of the family pet if their circumstances suddenly changed? If for instance your elderly mum had a fall at home and because of the injuries she sustained it meant she needed to go into an aged care facility and her dog needed a new home could you take care of it? Let say you live in a flat or are just not in a situation where you want or can take her family dog, so you take the dog to a dog’s home in good faith to find it a good home. If you are not legal power attorney or a chosen legal representative then unfortunately the dog home would not be able to accept the dog because the dog is not yours to give. Homes such as the Lort Smith Animal Hospital check the microchip details on the dog and match these against you. You will need to show identification that you are the owner or paperwork to prove that you have the legal capacity to relinquish the dog for adoption.
Can you imagine, you are already under pressure trying to find the right aged care home for your parent in a short space of time, navigating your way thru a maze of forms you are struggling to understand with few instructions on how to complete them and now you are stuck with a dog you can’t give away!
How can you avoid a situation like this and what steps could you put in place to ensure that this would never happen!
- Plan ahead! Easier said than done, but have a think about 2 responsible friends or relatives and ask them if they would service as emergency animal caregivers in the event that something happens to you or your loved one. Write a list with feeding and care instructions, the name of your vet and any other information about the permanent care you would like for your pet. Leave a copy of this list with a neighbour, pin a copy to your notice board, or affix a copy to the inside of your front or back door with the emergency contact numbers of caregivers of your pet.
- Have an ‘alert card’ inside your wallet or purse listing the type and name of your pets, listing their caregivers and contact details.
- Have your legal documents in place such as your will listing power of attorney or nominated representative so these people have unobstructed access to make decisions on your behalf.
Humane organisations such as the RSPCA don’t have the room or funds to care for your pet if you suddenly have to go to hospital so it’s really important you have made other arrangements.
If you make formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet ensure you seek help from professionals who can best guide you in completing legal documents. If you want to know that your pet is taken care of the way you want him/her to be if you become incapacitated & unable to care for your pet then it’s critical you get it right assistance beforehand! By seeking help from a lawyer if you so chose, you could also organise a bequest supporting your favourite animal protection programs after you are gone, and that would give peace of mind to any animal lover.
The Lort Smith hospital in Melbourne for instance has a program in place called ‘The heart and home service’ whereby you can put a request in what your express wishes are for your pet should something happen to you. This ensures your pet will be looked after should your pet outlive you. Here is a link to the websites providing more details:
http://leaveitwithme.com.au is an admin and Support service for seniors and their families assisting and helping you to help those you love.