As pet lovers, we hope that our animals will be with us for their whole lives. All going well, that’s what usually happens. But there may come a time when you are faced with a difficult situation – perhaps the loss of a job or stable living situation, a family breakup, or illness. This can lead to many difficult decisions as you try to work out the best outcome for yourself, your family, and your pets.
What do you do in this situation? You don’t want to surrender your pets unless it’s absolutely the last resort. Sometimes, it’s the only option – see our previous blog post on surrendering animals. But there are steps you can take to ensure that your furry friends can stay with you, and it’s a great idea to think about these before anything happens.
Our main tip - plan ahead! We constantly see adverts telling us to plan for the future. We are urged to consider car and house insurance, life insurance, funeral insurance, and income protection insurance. We write wills to ensure that our families are taken care of. We appoint guardians for our children so that they will be looked after if the worst happens.
But some events can be more difficult to plan for. What would happen if your family broke down and you had to find somewhere else to live at short notice, with your pets in tow? It really can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how unlikely it may seem right now. Unfortunately, this is not something we can take out insurance for!
At Moving Paws Inc we recommend that you speak to family and friends to see who would be willing to step up and care for your animals in an emergency. Most of us know some fellow animal lovers who may be able to help short or long term. It’s a great idea to discuss this possibility with anyone who may be willing to help. Social media can be a great platform to reach out to like-minded friends.
Family breakdowns can be very problematic for pet owners. The stress of trying to find accommodation at short notice is hard enough, and pet-friendly rentals are uncommon in Australia. This situation will also put a stress on finances – and this can force some difficult decisions.
What would happen if you became unwell or were admitted to hospital? You may need someone to feed your pets for a day or two, or to provide full time care for weeks or months. This means that a trusted person will need to know who they can contact to get to your pets. It is helpful if they also know what your pets eat and when, along with any special needs.
Moving Paws Inc has a holiday care program that can assist with short term care at a reasonable cost (and the proceeds go towards the care of our rescue pets). Our network of carers can host your dogs in a loving home environment if you know you will be spending time in hospital. More information is available on our website.
Sometimes, when pet owners pass away, their families are unable or unwilling to look after the animals left behind. In our experience, this is a verycommon reason for pets to be surrendered to pounds and rescue groups. Please don’t assume that someone will take on your pets – again, it’s a great idea to discuss this with your family and have an emergency carer lined up just in case. In the event that your family or friends are unable to care for your pets, please ask them to contact Moving Paws Inc for advice and rehoming options. You can even include our details in your will to ensure that your furry friends are taken care of.
Some organisations encourage pet owners to carry a card in their wallets with details of any pets at home, and contact information for someone who can take care of them. This is a great idea. There is no guarantee that this card will be found or followed, but it may help to ensure your animals are looked after.
Behavioural issues are another common cause for surrenders. This can be difficult to handle, especially if your dog’s behaviour changes and he or she picks up bad habits or becomes stressed. Help is available in many forms – veterinarians can offer guidance, and there are numerous books and websites available with dog training tips. If the behaviour is very challenging, a professional trainer may be able to restore the balance.
Moving Paws Inc is a responsible pet rescue organisation, and we ask potential adopters to answer questions to confirm what arrangements they have made for the care of their pets if their circumstances change. Some responders answer this question with a response that “nothing will happen”, and this shows that they do not have any backup plan in place. We believe that this is a vitally important question to ask adopters, for all the reasons outlined above. If you are adopting a dog from us (or anyone else), please think about how you would answer.
We encourage you to discuss these contingencies with your loved ones. It makes so much sense to have a back-up plan for your pets. Perhaps you have a close friend or relative who is a cat or dog lover (or both!), who may be willing to take over care if you are unable to.
Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.
Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.