Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Plan For What-If When You Adopt

Adopting a pet is a joyful experience, one filled with excitement and anticipation. It is such a happy time, we sometimes neglect to think of some complications that may arise down the road,ones that would affect our ability to care for this precious new friend. It is crucial we plan ahead for things that may happen in our lives, to best serve our pets' best interests.

As with any other major decisions in life, careful thought  needs to be applied to not only how this choice fits in with our current daily status, but also to prepare for life's unexpected events. There are many things to consider when adopting a pet. Assuming the adaptability of this animal to your home's daily activities, the compatibility with household members, and the ability to provide for them have all been considered, there are still the "what-if's". Life just doesn't remain static, which is usually a good thing. But there are possibilities that, as much as we'd rather not, we should not only carefully consider but also plan for.

One of these possibilities includes a decrease in available income or increase in costs. Like it or not, we need money to provide for those we love. Should your income drop at some point in the future, do you have a nest egg to rely on for the everyday expenses of food and supplies? Are you aware of programs where you might seek help if you were unfortunate enough to require it? There is also the consideration of your pet's health. They may at this moment be the picture of health and strength, but what if they became ill or injured? Would you be able to afford veterinary and prescription costs? Pet insurance can help to relieve the insecurity of future health costs, but only if you've been enrolled in a plan.

Then there are changes within the home. Is there a possibility of transfer or moving? Would a new home include the ability to keep your pet? It may be wonderful for you to enjoy having a pet for a time, but to lose their home and family because of this can be traumatic at the least for animals. It's best to not bring home a pet until you are certain you can provide stability and a permanent home. If it's a matter of moving alone, you'll need to ensure you'll be able to take whatever additional measures needed to help the pet acclimate to their new environment with you. There is also the consideration of major changes within the household. Members moving out, going away to college, roommates leaving or new people coming into the house can cause stress for a pet, leading to illness. If you are aware of this, you'll need to provide additional attention.

Along with the changes of members of the household is the possibility of having a baby. So many people give up pets when they're expecting a child, usually under the belief that it won't work out well if they kept them. If it's a matter of the additional effort on your part to ensure your pet is comfortable and safe around your baby, it would not be wise to adopt. That said, with very little effort on your part, you can indeed ensure all will go well when baby arrives, keeping the pet with your family. This is a matter of learning what to do and following through with the suggestions.

Then there is the unthinkable. What if you were to become ill or incapacitated in some way, either physically unable to care for your pet or hospitalized? What if you were to die? No one wants to think of these things, which is completely understandable. But without careful planning, your pet could end up out in the cold. It is important to discuss with those you would entrust your pet to on their commitment to do so in such unlikely, yet possible, events. Very often, someone becomes hospitalized longterm or passes away, and the friends and relatives are unable to take in their pet. That animal then ends up at the shelter. Knowing you wouldn't want that to happen for your new friend, a long conversation covering the basics with friend or family member could alleviate this unfortunate possibility.

Twiggy is one of so many pets who was once adored, doted upon lovingly by her owner. Unfortunately, he became seriously ill and permanently unable to care for her. Even more unfortunate, neither could any of his family and friends. She has to be about the sweetest, most adorable kitty you could meet! She talks up a storm, loves to get and give attention, follows you around. She is a best friend just waiting for a new home, a new chance to love someone. Luckily, her owner's family remembered where she was adopted, and she is again fostered by her original foster dad. There is another terrific home out there for her, we just have to wait until it comes along.

Although it might seem inappropriate to consider the kinds of what-if's that we'd prefer weren't even possibilities, we do our pets a huge service by thinking through and carefully planning for them.

As your pet's best friend and advocate, you are the one who can best make decisions for them should unlikely or unsavory events occur; you are who they depend upon.


  1. I am glad to know I am not the only one that worries about a future disaster! My "kids" all have "god parents" that have agreed to care for them in the event that I no longer can. It certainly gives me piece of mind that they will be taken care of.

  2. "Godparents" is a fantastic idea! Good for you, for planning!


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