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Written by Kim MacCrone-CVT
All photos are of my own pets, therefore do not require a license.


I’ve been researching an interesting topic for the past couple of days. This concerning issue was brought to my attention by Sue Higbee, owner of Sue’s Pet Friends Pet Sitting, one of our very own Az Pet Professional members. 

Sue was absolutely right! Let's talk about Pet Trusts and Wills for a minute.

Do you know how many people do not have a plan for their animal’s well being in case something happens to them and they are no longer able to care for their pets? Just think about pet owners who own several pets. 

Think what responsibility that puts on friends and family trying to find them all new homes. It’s almost impossible to give away a pet to a trusted friend these days let alone multiple pets! Because of the burden left on family and relatives most of the time the disruption in their lives is so overwhelming that the pet is the LAST thing on their priority list….even if they know that this was “Grandma’s Baby” and would want them to find the best possible home for “Fluffy”.

Statistics show that many elderly pet owners, who pass away, go into retirement homes and/or hospice does not have a plan when it comes to their pets and in many cases these pets end up at the pound and euthanized. Some “Golden Year” isn’t it? 
Faithful pet at your side for years and then POW, just like that they end up at the scariest place on earth for an animal. Not a very good fate. So what can we do as pet owners? 

Here are some simply laid out tips and suggestions to make sure your pets end up in the right hands in case you die or are incapacitated. At the end of this article you will find two links that have all of the legal information in regards to pet Trusts. 

Will you pets go to just one person or different people? If you have any two pets that are particularly close and bonded, try to make sure that they go together. You may even want to choose two people from separate families in case something happens to one of them. 
Consider only trustworthy and dependable adults who are familiar with your pets and familiar with pet care. Stay in touch and let them know if there are changes with their wishes that you must be notified. (In case they change their mind and do not want the responsibility)

Exchange information with neighbors in case something happens to you and your family unexpectedly. Have each other’s information, possibly even house keys, veterinarian information, and have a permission slip on file with one another stating that they are authorized to seek veterinary care for your pets if in an emergency.

If you can financially afford this then remember these things, annual pet care costs can vary with the age and health of your pet so they each may require a different annual amount. 
The cost should cover the average life expectancy age of each pet. This cost can range from $500 annually per pet, to thousands! Don’t over fund! Some states actually state that overfunding can result in overturning a pet trust. 
Get assistance from legal professionals when making arrangements.

If you cannot afford a trust then write up a contract and have it signed by the person or people you choose for your pet/s care to be effective upon your death or incapacitation. 

Some people own a pet that is so extremely bonded with them that they fear the animal would be more distressed and depressed if not together. 
 I wholeheartedly believe this since my own little “soul dog” would not survive without me and unfortunately I know this for sure. He would be better off with the choice of euthanasia than without me. The rest of my animals would be just fine with proper caregivers. 
If this is the case than have it stated in your Will or Trust or even a signed Contract. 

You may also wish to prepare for this while you are still alive by contacting a Pet Memorial and giving them all of your information and your requests so that when the time comes they will be ready and set. Make sure that your family, friends or a trusted veterinarian is aware of your plans.   

Mary Rauchwarter is the owner of Fairwinds Pet Loss and Memorial Services. For more information and planning please see Fairwinds business website at

If you’re nearing your golden years and your pet is still relatively young, make sure to research Nursing Homes or Long Term Living Centers that allow pets.

Links for more information:

·        Click here to go to the AVMA website and for more information regarding pet Trusts:
·        Click here to read Arizona’s Laws regarding pet Trusts.

 I hope this will clear up some confusion and enlighten some pet owners. Within my own business I see this all too often. I work with many pet owners who are either ill or incapacitated in some way and have no back up plans for their pets. I try to assist them with this information as much as I can. My hope is that they will. I can't bare to think of their elderly pets sitting at the pound. 

If you have a grandparent, family member or friends who have pets please pass on this information. Let's look out for all the pets we know! Thanks pet friends!

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