I often joke that my cocker spaniel, Atticus Finch, is the benevolent head of our household and that it would serve me well to remember that I am merely his chef, doorman, chauffeur, and personal valet. As long as I remember my place, there will be peace in the house.
For many of us our pets are like children and some of our most important family members. They show us unconditional love and much of our attention revolves around their care. Recently, I was getting ready for my own vacation (where Atticus Finch is not accompanying me), and I reflected on the preparation I make on his behalf, is very similar to what I have in place for what happens if I am incapacitated. I thought I might share what I do to prepare for his vacation away from me.
- I make sure that I have a plan, and a contingency plan for who will be able to care for him in my absence. I am fortunate that I have good friends that love Atticus almost as much as I do, and are in good health and willing to be “dog mom” and “dog dad” in my absence. Even though I have a primary care giver who will be taking care of Atticus, I also have two contingent caregivers named and they know that if my primary caregiver becomes ill, then they will be called to step in. These are the same people who I have listed in a separate pet trust that I set up for his care if I die unexpectedly.
- I have plans in place for compensation to his caregivers. While I am fortunate that Atticus's caregivers love him and welcome him into their home, I have also arranged to pay these people an equivalent amount as if I were to board him at the vet. I want them to know that I appreciate them taking care of the law dog, but also recognize that I value their care. For me, I would rather have people that know and love Atticus to care for them in my home or their's, but I would also not be opposed to boarding with our vet (because they are awesome!).
- I have checked to make sure I have plenty of Atticus's kibble, treats, and medicine on hand, as well as his favorite toys, gathered. Atticus also loves to go for a walk, so I make sure have at least two leashes available so Atticus can get his exercise. I also have a new package of tennis balls ready to entertain him when he needs a pick-me-up. Atticus's primary caregiver is going to stay at my home and care for him while I am away, but when that is not the case, I also make sure that in addition to his food, medicine and toys, I also prepare his dog bed, food and water bowls, and blanket so he has familiar things in his new settings.
- I have made a written list with his feeding schedule, medicine schedule, and exercise schedule. In addition to this information, I have listed my details on the best way to get ahold of me, the primary caregiver, alternate caregivers, and our vet's contact details. I also have called my vet and put a credit card on file with them, as well as who may contact them if there is an emergency.
When working with my clients, it is often a concern to ensure their “best pet friend” is taken care of if they cannot. This also means planning who can take of them if you have a hospital stay, and who will take care of them after your death.
Shawn can not offer legal advice in this format. He can only provide general information that you may find helpful. You should call an attorney and seek specific legal advice if you need legal guidance, you can rely on for your situation.
Give us a call. We can help.
Law Office of Shawn C. Newman, P.A.
710 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305-1238
Phone: (954) 563-9160
Serving all of the greater Fort Lauderdale area and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties in Southern Florida.
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