Rescue Journal

ok, look at this...i work in the community with primarily seniors and palliatives...

Carol  ·  Oct. 17, 2009

many of them have pets, all of them were aware of the fact that they needed a plan in place for their pet in case they were unable to care for him/her any more.

seniors and the dying are aware that life can end or change in a flash so they make their plans, they take care of their affairs and usually they have made arrangements for their furry friend.

so why to we get so many..owner has died, or gone into facility care calls? is easy to be nice and a good friend, daughter or son when mom or dad look like they are going to be around for awhile....little rover or fluffy, is cute, sure i will take care of problem.

whew..ok then, that is settled. thank you so much.


when push comes to shove, and the house or apartment are getting packed are rover and fluffy cuz caring for them now just became a real life problem... all of the roadblocks, challenges and obstacles just magically popped up.

i cannot imagine settling my parents estate and dropping their furry friend off at a rescue or shelter on the way to cashing my inheritence cheque. that has to be one of those go straight to hell card things...because you did not honor your word, you led someone to believe that someone they loved would be safe with you but now you found an excuse.

think about it for a many of your animal loving friends, have asked you the animal lover reading this blog to be the guardian to one or more of their pets? if it suddenly happens tomorrow...can you really do it? and if you have said yes to several different friends, can you manage all of their pets if they all get killed together on a tour bus today?

can you really do it? can you take whatever animal(s) in and love them and care for them forever til life naturally does them in?

if you are the person, asking others to care for your pets...have you considered that something big might change for them one day as soon as you are dead? maybe they will get sick, maybe they will lose their job and their house and home? maybe by then they will have too many time committments, kids or pets of their own. maybe if taking your animal(s) became a reality, they will not want to, or be able to...

then what?

what is the back up plan?

i get at least 5 or 6 calls or emails a and so just died or went into care and i am looking after fluffy but can't you have room? do you have any foster homes? do you have a list of folks looking to adopt old orphan dogs/ (or cats) ...if you can't help me, can you point me in the right direction to where i can get help?

i called the poubds and shelters..they said they would put her down cuz they can't find homes for senior animals...i called the vets but they don't want to put her down, she is 15 years old but healthy so now i am stuck and i can't keep her.

poor little fluffy, so sad at the loss of her human friend has no idea the trauma she has just caused to someone who on second thought, did not really want her to begin with.

be careful what you promise, cuz one day you might have to follow thru. be careful of who you ask to take care of someone special to you.

and have a back up plan or two in place too cuz i am telling you plain and clear...what you think might happen when you are gone, is not necessarily going to be true.

when mugsy and cleo's dad asked us to be guiardians to them..i said sure (he was only in his sixties and they were already old dogs) when he got mad at me because i did not drop everything and run over to the island to pick up a tractor that was not that important to me and he took that to mean...i wouldn't come for his dogs he made other arrangements.... i thought, oh yay, off the hook...i don't need two more sketchy dogs.

when his other arrangements failed miserably to care for those dogs..i paid someone to go to the island and get them immediately and bring them home to me. i knew beyond a shadow of a doubt or the slightest excuse i could find...that i was now responsible for the happiness and well being of those dogs for the rest of their lives.

but i am also telling you here..that my kind of committment is not all that rare is not always there either. i know what i am getting into when i say yes to this kind of thing...not everyone else does, because they don't really believe it might happen one they said yes when they should have said no.

even the ones like 4lane...whose family really did try to take him in and love him..they found he was just too difficult for them and for his happiness and theirs, they just could not keep living with him.

anyway...there are ways to ensure that pets are well loved and cared for past your own life but nothing is written in stone, things change, new understandings come to life...

protect your furry beast and protect those of your friends and family by knowing that nothing is simple, shit happens and fail proof plans need to be made.



I do think seniors should only adopt seniors. It doesn't make sense to me when an 80 year old person adopts a puppy...very good chance the dog will outlive them.


Emma and Barbara,
Life takes unexpected turns. I'm 26, single and have three cats and despite the fact that I'm young and healthy, I've made plans for my cats. I have two people who have offered to care for them and along with the responsibility they'll recieve enough money to care for them until the anticipated end of their natural lives.
You never know when your going to cross the street and be killed by a bus or become incapable of caring for them in some other way. It works the other way too. She has a dog that I will adopt if something happens to her.
I'm pretty confident. I'm lucky to have enough people in my life who feel the same way about my cats as I do to make sure they never end up back in the shelter where they came from.


i am not trying to scare everyone else too...but this is a big issue and not everything is clearly and always honestly laid out. and trying to make a good and safe plan, we all need to recognize what the risks are for them once we are gone.
back up plans are critical.


and that is a good option...but here another thing to think about...find out their critera for taking in and adopting out animals...(not their criteria for accepting legacies with animals attached) if for example, they routinely euthanize FeLV and FIV cats, and your cats are in and out with a possibility of either, or what if your cat freaks in the shelter and becomes aggressive and they normally euthanize aggressive cats...are they going to agree not to euthanize yours (and if they do, why not others without money too?)..or if they deem 14 yr old dogs with dental, thyroid and mild kidney disease as unadoptable..will they in fact adopt out yours..or will they euthanize because that is their policy? or will they agree not to euthanize and find them a home anyway...and if so...again? why not the same chance for a old dog with the same iassues but who is broke?

there are a lot of twists and bends in this road to caring for our furry friends if we cannot any more.
when i really think about it...i get scared sometimes...despite all my well laid plans...will it be enough for them?


Since no one in my family is particularly keen on having pets I wrote my will so a percentage of my estate goes to a local animal group so that they can care for or find a good home for any critters I may have when the time comes. That seemed to be the best solution.


i think anyone capable of caring well for animals can have them...but you cannot always count on others to pick up the care they way you expect if you depart too soon. put safety nets in place. for me it is an insurence policy and property trusts set up with enough money to go to saints to cover the cost of caring for these guys til they pass away...for others it might be guardian plan A, B or C. for seniors, it might be a good idea to permanently foster for an established rescue group as they will take back the animal if ever needed again.

the important thing is not to just assume because you asked and someone agreed at a distant time, that what you think will happen, actually will.
all of the shelters usually have beloved pets whose owners either died or went into care..i think that is not what most folks intended.

the other thing as lory pointed sometimes people make mistakes with who they give their pets too...we have gotten in several animals from homes that did not want them, did not care for them and the people had them from a friend or a neighbor or a relative who died or went into care.

Lori Paul

When my friend Alan passed at age 37, I promised to take care of his 2 cats. Due to the nature of my work (a musician usually on the road) I found a guy who wanted to adopt the cats together and assured me that if for any reason, he couldn't keep them, he would give them back to me. I checked out his apartment, visited again after 3 months and all seemed well...healthy, happy, relaxed cats. A month later, the guy vanishes leaving no forwarding info whatsoever. The mutual friend who introduced us to begin with was stunned at this development having known the guy for 10+ years but to this day, I do not know what happened to Clarence (a white DLH with two different coloured eyes) and Tutu (a Seal Point Siamese) and I will never again trust animals I am responsible for to someone I don't know very well. Even well-intentioned, responsible people can f*** up.
We now have a plan A and a plan B in place, backed up by another friend who has promised to be safety net plan C should my husband and I die together before our 2 dogs and 1 cat do. My friends think I am worrying for nothing but I know things can go wrong even with the best laid plans.


I was just thinking that too! Is there an age that people should stop having pets so that the pets don't out live them when they die or go into a care facility? What about young people that pass away too though that also have pets?

Barbara DeMott

Life does not have fail proof plans. Even those you trust completely might get sick or die before the pet. Moreover, most elderly people don't have a huge circle of people to draw from who are willing to take care of them much less their pets.
So should old people just not have pets???