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Moving to a Nursing Home, Must Re-Home Dog... or Not?


What do you feel, or think, when you read this Facebook post?





This post circulated on Facebook in early February. 


  "Yes I can help," was my initial thought when I saw this (a couple of rescue friends had tagged me).


    It took about 5 seconds for my brain to process the gravity of this post, and for ~what I know to come~ to surface.


    "Often a pet is a senior’s sole companion and when they lose their pet, the senior often goes into a downward spiral and we end up losing the senior not long after the pet is gone," as simply put on hospets.org


    Losing a pet, especially for a senior citizen, can be fatal.

    

    So when I read through some of the comments on this post's thread, seeing only, "I can take the dog," "I pm-ed you," and tagging so-and-so and so-forth, I felt helpless, and at the same time wanted to scream.  


    Hello... is anyone thinking about this lady?! 

    Of course I commented on the thread, mentioning our rescue, saying I'd be glad to help, and that my first order of business would be conversing with this pet owner to try to find a way for her to keep, or at least have visitations, with her beloved dog.  I mentioned some options on the thread but assumed I'd never hear anything back since a few dozen people had already replied, and the post had circulated for a couple of days.  As a matter of fact the nurse that initially shared this even said on the thread that, 'she thought they'd found an owner.' 


    Again I wanted to say... but this dog has an owner, a wonderful, loving owner!


    I'm blogging on this in an attempt to get the word out... if you or someone you know finds yourself in a similar situation, please know that: 

You have options. You have rights. Don't let someone else make this call to give up your pet for you. 


    In the moment it may feel 'easier' in some ways to just find a new home for the dog, especially in this current climate of dogs-in-demand, but believe me when I say, this decision can have long-term, potentially-fatal impacts, for the pet owner and/or the pet.  


    I am not an attorney, and nothing in this blog should be interpreted as legal advice. 

    However, as the owner and primary pet caregiver for The Paw and Feather Plan Inc, I've done some research on these types of cases, and know there are options, legally, that most people may not be aware of:

-Pet Trusts can be funded, and go into effect while you're still alive, per my knowledge.
-Living Wills are a thing too.

    Back to this Facebook post with the elderly lady and her dog, Shane... 

    She could've in essence created a pet trust, designated a pet custodian for Shane to keep him as the custodian's own dog, mandating in the trust that the pet custodian takes Shane to visit her (the owner) x number of times per week. 

    Of course provisions should be made for such care. But this lady may have been able to, and could've been happy to, create a pet trust... could it be that she just wasn't aware of this option? 

    The bond between Shane and his owner is visible in the 2 photos, and what a great handler she is too!  It pains me to think of this woman alone, in a nursing home, without her smart, loyal companion pet.  

    I wish I had an advertising budget to more effectively raise awareness on the importance of pets in planning. But I don't.      So I'm depending on pet-loving people like you to read and share such blogs and content. 

    Please, help me get the word out on the importance of including pets in life and death plans. 

Footnote: I respect the pet-loving nurse that went out of her way to help Shane and Shane's owner.  She could've simply called her local Animal Control... it's clear she's an animal lover.  But all of us need to learn more about our options regarding pets in planning. 
 

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