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Appointing a guardian for your dog

Who will care for your dog when you are gone?
Who will care for your dog when you are gone?
Morguefile / butkovicdub

Many dogs end up in shelters when their owner passes away. Some are even euthanized because nobody else is willing to take them, or can’t. Appointing a guardian for your pet should be as important as appointing a guardian for your children. Have you ever thought of what will happen to your dog if something happens to you?

When Should You Appoint a Dog Guardian?

Young, healthy dog owners do not even give a thought to who would care for their pet if something happened to them. Unfortunately even young healthy people can have accidents that may land them in a hospital or worse.

Knowing that someone is ready to step in and take care of your pet will be a great relief, even if you are in a hospital for a short while. In the event that the accident is fatal, someone is already aware of the fact that they have agreed to take your dog.

This can resolve the problem of your pet sitting in a house alone and hungry for hours or even days, because no one was aware that they needed to go get the dog. It can be traumatizing to the pet and family members when someone finally realizes that your dog is not being cared for!

You should make arrangements with someone to be the guardian as soon as you acquire a pet. It should be someone close to you and the dog, and who knows the dog’s daily routine. Who, of your family or friends, does your pet seem to take a liking to? Who loves your dog almost as much as you do?

Should Couples Appoint a Pet Guardian?

Just as couples discuss who would take their children, they should also discuss who would take their dogs in the event something was to happen to the both of them. Unfortunately, there are accidents that have claimed the lives of couples at the same time, or landed them both in the hospital.

If you appoint a guardian for your dog in the event something happens to the both of you, you should still discuss what to do with a pet that may belong to only one of you. Perhaps your spouse or significant other has not got the time, nor desire to care for a pet that you care for solely.

Discuss it openly and honestly, before you are faced with what to do with your spouse’s dog if something happened to them. If your spouse is battling a terminal illness, it will give them peace of mind to know that you stand ready and able to care for their beloved dog after they are gone.

Do You need a Lawyer to Appoint a Pet Guardian?

You may or may not need to consult an attorney to arrange for pet guardianship. The answer to this depends on how detailed you want to be. In most situations, probably not, but if you have money that you plan to leave in a trust for the pet’s care, then yes, it is probably wise to have a legal paper drawn up.

Most of the time, you can simply talk to family members or friends and let your wishes be known. Let them know that you do not want your beloved dog to go to a shelter, or a stranger’s home. If you have someone in mind that you think would be a good fit with your dog, ask them if they would take him if something happens to you.