907-334-9200 Attorney: 205 E. Benson Blvd., Suite 121-D Anchorage, Alaska

A couple of weeks ago, I ventured into the local pet big box store to buy some of my dog’s favorite treats. It was a busy Saturday, and on Saturdays all across the country, this pet store chain holds adoption events. I love adoption day at the pet store; so many new beginnings happen there.

The usual cast of characters were all present – a litter of adorable puppies that were cute and cuddly, but I could tell by the size of their paws that they’d weigh in the neighborhood of seventy pounds in a few short months. There was an anxious dog that wouldn’t stop barking. There were several handsome black dogs, (who, statistics show, are harder to find homes for) and a dozen other cages holding hopeful canines, just waiting for someone to choose them.

At the far end of the line was a cage containing two dogs. They were lovely and small, some kind of spaniel I think, with shiny soft hair. These two had obviously been well cared for. I stepped closer to read the sign on their cage.

Rusty and Coco

9 years and 11 years old.
Must go together.
House trained. Obedient.
Prefer a quiet home with no children.

The store manager greeted me.

“What’s the story with these two?” I asked.

“Oh, their person died unexpectedly, and no one was left to care for them, so here they are. We’re trying to find them a good home. They’re really great little dogs.”

I looked at the pair, huddled together at the back of their cage. They were frightened. They’d lost their home and their person. Their whole world was turned upside down.

I am currently at my pet limit at home, so I bought my treats and left the store. But I thought about Rusty and Coco the rest of the day. Too often, we assume that life will go on forever. That nothing will ever change. That, even if the unthinkable happens, someone we know – a family member or friend – will step in and take over where we left off.

But life isn’t fair, and that doesn’t always happen. Small pets like cats and dogs are probably the easiest to place. But some of us have exotics like lizards and birds whose life spans can rival our own. Then there’s livestock – like llamas or horses, which bring a special set of challenges when it comes to placement. I mean, you can’t just move a llama into your guest room! So, let’s take a look at what you can do to care for your pets in the event you can no longer do it yourself.

Your estate plan can absolutely have a provision in it for your fur babies.

You can get as detailed as you’d like by including any or all of these things:

The name of the person or persons with whom you would like your pet to live.

The name of their veterinarian.

Their groomer.

Their favorite food, treats, activities, etc.

You can write a description of what their typical day looks like.

Write down a feeding schedule.

Include any personality quirks that the next person would benefit from knowing about.

You can absolutely leave money for their care.

You might even allocate some funds for a personal trainer to come in and help your pet with the transition to a new person. After all, life for them will be very different.

Make a Plan for Your Pets

My point is simple: don’t leave the fate of your beloved pet or pets to chance. Make some plans for them, just as you do your other human family members. They deserve it. If you’d like to explore a care plan for your pets, I’d love to help you. Contact me and we’ll set up a time to chat. Oh, and bring pictures! I’d love to see your furry family members!

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