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Monday, January 24, 2022

Who will take your pet when you die? Special defenses help ailing owners find their mates’ next home.

NEW YORK — Who will take your pet when you die?

The question often doesn’t have an easy answer, especially for sick or older people who make residential nursing care or assisted living. During the pandemic, specialized rescue, advocacy and adoption services run by volunteers are trying to fill the gap one pet at a time.

Leaders of the small movement said that the eyes of many people have been opened in the last few years.

“With a lot of people thinking about COVID, I can’t be guaranteed to be around forever. Many people are trying to make plans in advance, which is the best thing because unfortunately, many people wait until they are in hospice or have a desperate situation,” says Amy Shaver, 2nd said the founder and director of Chance. 4 Pets in suburban Sacramento, Calif.

According to the Best Friends network of thousands of public and private shelters, rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations, the number of pets surrendering at shelters due to caregiver health or death has increased from 7.3% in 2009 to 10.2%. 50 states.

Shaver said that seniors’ pets are often seniors themselves, living in shelters or the first to be declared unaccompanied. They are regularly abandoned by relatives who cannot take a dog or cat. Other pets like parrots have a very long life span, which sometimes frightens loved ones.

Shaver’s focus is to educate veterinarians and shelters on how they can get involved. His organization also strives to help pet owners in need of direction. She urges owners to identify a committed caregiver, provide written instructions for a pet’s routine, and create a financial plan. Her group has distributed thousands of emergency-card door hangers, for example, to pet food banks and animal welfare organizations so owners can state their wishes.

Another organization, Pet Peace of Mind, works directly with about 250 hospices nationwide and provides and trains volunteers who care for critically and mentally ill pets, said president in Salem, Oregon. and founder Diane McGill said. Most hospices are providing home services, with pets often providing comfort and support.

“These specialized volunteers bring pet care knowledge with them so they can do whatever is needed to help,” she said. “So they’re walking, feeding, playing, cleaning or helping to plan the house again.”

McGill said while providing pet care or adoption services isn’t often top of the minds of social workers or nurses, it’s a huge emotional driving force for patients and loved ones who live far away.

“Care workers hear about issues from family members,” she said. “They say, my mom is really upset about what’s going to happen to her pet. I live out of state. I can’t help her. When she’s on her end-of-life journey.” Or how do we get some pet care when she passes away?”

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