Sweet KittyKeeping it Current and Accessible in Case of Emergency

It something that not many of us want to think about – what will become of your pets if something happens to you?  Most of us know how important it is to keep our will current, but have you thought about your pets?  With a little pre-planning you can make sure that your pets will be well cared for in case of emergency.  Check out the following article by Mickey Zeldes on the importance of having a pet file.

Do you know what veterinarian your dad uses for his dog? Do you know the name of the groomer that does your sister’s cat? Does anyone but you know that your rabbit loves dill but won’t touch kale? It’s not surprising if the answers to these questions are no. Most of us are involved in our own lives but not so deeply involved in our friends and relatives’ lives. What happens though in an emergency if you need to step in and take over the care of these animals?

We recently had a dog surrendered to us from a man whose mother just had a major stroke and was moved to a nursing home. He knew virtually nothing about the animal except his name. It was just like taking in a stray where we would have to get to know the animal and figure out what kind of home would be suitable.  What a shame. It was clear from how well groomed and socialized the dog was that he was well loved. I’m sure the mother would want the adopters to know about all the dog’s quirks, likes and dislikes so that the transition could be as painless as possible. Sadly, she is in no condition to share this information with us.

When I think about all the routines my animals have me trained in – this one wants his food warmed up, this one will only eatHappy Retriever
from a particular dish, this dog will only do his business on a walk – not in our back yard, I know that putting them into a new home would not be easy on them.

So how can we make that transition easier in case it ever comes to that? Planning is key and should be part of your disaster preparedness.

Keep a file on each animal – who is their veterinarian, are they current on vaccinations, have they had any serious illnesses or injuries, what is their favorite game or toy, what brand of food do they eat and how often, where do you keep their medications, his microchip number and the phone number of the registry, is there a friend who knows this animal and can answer questions about them, etc.  Add a couple of photos of the pet including a good head-shot, in case you need that to ID a lost animal. Keep this file updated and accessible. Write out instructions for each animal like you were going on a vacation and giving information to a pet-sitter. I know that sounds like a lot of work but it’s sort of like keeping your resume ready to go.  In this day, it’s a wise thing to do!

Credit: Mickey Zeldes, Do you Have a Pet File?