Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "What if?" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

What if?

by Charlotte Peltz

Recently a good friend of mine died, and he had made no arrangements for his canine friend. While I could have provided a home for her -- at least one! -- the law said that she was part of the estate and my efforts were futile. She was a very traumatized little thing and, in fact, ill, most probably from lack of water and food for two days before the situation was discovered. It would have made things much better for her if she could have had her own bed, toys and food to aid her through the change and health issues, but no, that wasn't possible either. The house was sealed. She was temporarily housed with a friend who is not a dog person. There was no money available to meet her immediate needs.

I do understand the law and the need to honor it, but it seems to me that the intent of the law was not considered in this case. I pass this information along to you so that you can make adequate arrangements for your furred or feathered companions.

For many of us, the person who will be the executor of our estates lives far away and cannot be here immediately to attend to such things as live animals. To the best of my knowledge, we have no local facilities [in San Miguel] that would be satisfactory on a temporary basis while awaiting official action. There are no official breed rescue groups [here] that can house a dog, evaluate it for problems that could make re-homing difficult, and to screen new homes to be certain the animal will be properly treated.

Things that need to be considered in re-homing include the following: Is the dog housetrained? Is it safe with cats? Children? Other dogs? If the breed is what we call coated, will the prospective owners understand the need to comb, brush, bathe and get professional grooming done as often as is appropriate? How about breed specific issues? It is wonderful to be a good Samaritan, and quite another to be surprised by what is involved, and then be seeking yet another home for the dog.

It is my hope that each of you reading this will make a list of people who would be willing to temporarily care for an animal until the official decision is made.

Important things must be considered. Ask if the person would be able to care for a small dog? A large dog? Only a female? Only a male? Does the person have a [fenced] yard? Can the person provide adequate exercise? Does the person have other dogs? Ask similar questions about placing cats. What would the person charge for such a service? What experience does the person have with dogs?

Make these lists available among your friends and associates and post those you choose in an appropriate place in your home and in your wallet.

Joy's note:
You may wish to list, in your trust or your will, the name and contact information of a friend or two, who has agreed to take on your pet(s) should you precede your pet(s) in death. Of course, be sure to set aside enough money from your estate, to be doled out on a monthly basis, so the pet is cared for throughout its expected lifetime. This person needs to be in your legal document.

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

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