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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Meowsa! Do our pets go to Heaven?

WND: While millions of people grapple with questions about what really happens when they die, now a brand-new book is probing what might actually happen to people’s beloved pets.

The title of the book asks the timeless question, “Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?” and features biblical analysis of the issue, along with amazing stories of pets that saved people and provided companionship as well as healing.

“I must admit I cannot recount the number of times when, as a pastor of more than two decades and as a public and media personality since, I have been approached by an adult or child – eyes filled with questions – who wanted to ask me very sincerely if I believed their pets would go to heaven,” says Tom Horn, who co-authored the book with Terry James and other contributors.

“It seems to be one of the biggest secrets in Christianity,” Horn continued, “that our Western mindset has made it difficult to discuss what people in other countries as well as theologians down through time believed to be an important and theological question. Most are also usually unaware that the Bible itself has some important things to say about the issue, and that many celebrated theologians and philosophers – past and present – concluded a long time ago based on these Scriptures that our pets most likely will be in heaven.”

Video: Do Our Pets Go To Heaven?

Ironically, the Bible itself doesn’t even say the ultimate reward of saved men and women will be floating on clouds in the sky, but it does indicate Jesus Christ will raise His true believers from the grave, grant them eternal life, return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and rule with them here on planet Earth.

Yet there are plenty of verses in Scripture indicating the presence of animals in the coming kingdom of God.

The prophet Isaiah is famous for this future glimpse depicting people dwelling with animals, whose aggressive nature will have been reprogrammed and tamed by God in the kingdom:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)

Horn writes in a chapter of his book:

Indeed, we find that God values His living artistry so much that He even made some of the angelic beings to reflect the animal’s faces (see Revelation 4:6–8; Ezekiel 10:14). In addition to their artistic value, God loves the company of these creatures to the point that not even a tiny sparrow falls to the ground that He doesn’t account for (Matthew 10:29). Another amazing example of God’s concern for animals comes from the story of Jonah, in which it appears that the people of Nineveh were spared destruction because God wanted to have mercy on their children and animals (see Jonah 4:11)! Of course, to the delight of my wife, Nita, God is an equestrian and has already filled Heaven with lots and lots of horses (Revelation 6:2–8; 19:11; 2 Kings 6:17). His Son, Jesus, will even return someday on one such horse (Revelation 19:11–14).

It is further written in the Bible that:

  • God holds the lives of animals in His hands (Job 12:10).
  • He, Himself, feeds them (Psalms 104:21–30; Matthew 6:26).
  • They were created for His enjoyment (Revelation 4:11).
  • God never forgets about them (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
  • People who mistreat their pets are judged by Him as “cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Those who treat their pets kindly are called “righteous” (Proverbs 12:10).

Horn notes the idea of pets in heaven is not some rogue notion among famous Christians, stating, “Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Mark Hitchcock, Dr. David Reagan, and hundreds of other clergy and theologians agree that the chances are very good our pets will be in heaven.”

When Graham was once asked by a little girl whose dog had died that week whether her pet would be in heaven, he replied, “If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be.”

Horn also cites verses in Scripture stating it won’t be just resurrected human beings offering praise to God in the future:

Animals are included with men as those who are commanded to praise the Lord! This was true in the Old Testament in places such as Psalms 148:10–13, where we read:

“Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”

And this amazing fact – that animals praise the Lord – will also be true in the future, as they are seen offering praise unto the Lamb of God extending into eternity in Revelation 5:13:

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

But the idea that pets go to heaven or have a similar reward to obedient human servants of God is certainly not ubiquitous among faithful believers who study the Bible.

Among them is Philip Shields, a Christian speaker and online host of LightontheRock.org, who stresses there’s a clear distinction in the book of Genesis at the time animals and mankind were created.

“Elohim (God) spoke all things – including animals – into existence,” he explained. “But to mankind only did He breathe His breath into. All humans have a spirit in man, and that spirit goes back to God after our death. But not animals’ spirits.”

He cites Ecclesiastes 3:21, which states: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (breath) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”

Shields says, “It is this spirit in man that gives us mind (Job 32:8), enabling there to be an interface with God’s spirit so we can understand godly things, which animals don’t. Animals have their own breath, ruach [in Hebrew], or spirit, but that goes back to the earth. Man is the only one that God did mouth-to-mouth on. That did not happen to hippopotamuses and alligators, or to dogs or cats. I think that’s an important distinction, that they don’t have the breath of God.”

“I’d love to think my beloved Duchess would be resurrected or something, but I don’t think so,” he added.

“And where do you draw the line? Are the bad animals – maneaters, for example – burning in hell? Is every cockroach or mongoose or tarantula up there, too, by the billions and trillions? How about the trillions of ants and mosquitoes? And if not, why not?”

Shields also asks rhetorically, “Did Christ die for animals, too? Can animals sin?”

Anyone searching the Internet for answers about pets going to heaven will find no shortage of posts on the matter.

ClarifyingChristianity.com offers a study on the matter, and agrees animals will be present in God’s coming kingdom. However, it points out “the question is ‘Were these animals new creations or do these animals include reborn earthly creatures?’”

By the end of its treatment, the site says, “The Bible is silent regarding an afterlife for animals. However, we do have one hope. The key passage for this question does not deal with animals directly, but rather God’s promise to those who inherit God’s kingdom – those people who have gotten right with God and will go to heaven themselves. For them, the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 [verse 9] applies:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

“Obviously, what God has prepared for us is wonderful beyond comprehension. Therefore, love your pets as much as you can while they are here. Those of us who go to heaven will later understand that everything worked out perfectly regarding our pets.”

Related:

Pets and Heaven 

Heaven and Pets

Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

Rainbow Bridge

Sometimes “Rainbow Bridge” Prayers Are Answered

Critter for Christmas Gift… Not Best Idea!

Pet owners cut back on gifts… but not for their cuddly dogs and cats

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Soul Remains Unawakened’ 

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Pet Age

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

Heaven and Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Tails of Love

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

And God Created Dog…

Dogs Know

On the First Day God Created the Dog!

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

GoD and DoG

Dog, truly a gift! 

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Tribute to Brendon Griffen… 

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Books

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Story at-a-glance
  • Dr. Becker interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist and leader in the field of end-of-life care and pawspice (pet hospice).
  • Dr. Alice, as she is known, realized as a vet student that veterinary oncology was the field she wanted to practice in. She also saw a tremendous need for end-of-life care services for companion animals. When she went into private practice, Dr. Villalobos made the decision to care for each of her patients all the way through their illness to the end of their lives.
  • Dr. Alice created the term “pawspice” to distinguish the goals of hospice care for pets from what happens in human hospice. She also developed the HHHHHMM quality of life scale for pets with cancer that has gone viral.
  • Since the publishing of Dr. Villalobos’s textbook in 2007, the subject of pet hospice and end-of-life care is being covered in an increasing number of veterinary schools. In fact, it is currently the fastest-growing specialty service in veterinary medicine.
  • One of the ways pawspice differs from hospice is the incorporation of palliative medicine, which is geared toward alleviating symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. It involves using standard medicines in different ways to help trigger temporary remission without adverse events in the patient, thereby improving quality of life and happiness for pets at the end of their lives.

Video: Dr. Karen Becker Interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos regarding veterinary hospice.

    By Dr. Becker

    Today I have a very special guest chatting with me via Skype — Dr. Alice Villalobos. “Dr. Alice,” as she is known, is a University of California-Davis graduate, the director of Pawspice in Hermosa Beach, and she also runs the Animal Oncology Consultation Service in Woodland Hills.

    Dr. Villalobos is a founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Association for Veterinary Family Practice, and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She’s also the past president of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics and founder of the Peter Zippi Memorial Fund for Animals, which has found homes for 14,000 pets since 1977, primarily cats.

    Dr. Villalobos is editor-in-chief for several veterinary-related journals, and she has authored textbooks including Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle). She also writes a column titled The Bond and Beyond for Veterinary Practice News.

    Dr. Villalobos has received the Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award, the UC Davis Alumni Achievement award for her pioneering role in bringing oncology services to companion animals, and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice award. She lectures worldwide on veterinary oncology, companion animal quality of life issues, and “pawspice,” or veterinary hospice, which is the topic of our discussion today.

    Dr. Villalobos made the decision when she entered private practice to see her cancer patients through to the end of their lives.

    I asked Dr. Alice, since she has been a veterinarian for many years, how soon into her career she realized there was a huge gap in end-of-life care services for pets.

    She explained that she was still in veterinary school when she decided to practice oncology, and her animal patients had their end-of-life experiences right there at UC Davis. So Dr. Villalobos was able to see the gap in services first-hand while still a vet student.

    When she went into private practice, she made the decision to see her patients all the way through to the end of their lives, unlike what happened back in those days (1970s) in human medicine, when no one wanted to discuss death. This predated the human hospice movement and the concept of helping people die peacefully, without pain.

    Dr. Alice decided to work with her animal patients and their families right through to the very end of the journey. Fortunately, we are able to help pets have a very peaceful passing because society condones euthanasia for animals. Dr. Villalobos made it a point to talk about the subject with each family from the first day she felt euthanasia was inevitable for their pet.

    Next I asked Dr. Villalobos who she sought counsel from originally, since back in the 1970s there weren’t any mentors or role models for treating pets at the end of life. She answered that in the late 1960s and early 1970s at UC Davis, there was a very special pioneer in the field of animal oncology, Dr. Gordon Theilen.

    Dr. Theilen wrote the first two textbooks on veterinary cancer medicine. Dr. Alice considers him a great role model who is filled with compassion. She mentions Leo Bustad as a role model as well. He was also a part of the UC Davis team and was responsible for the term “human-animal bond.”

    Dr. Villalobos noticed that pet owners would come into her practice wanting to keep their dog or cat with them for as long as possible. They didn’t want a replacement. They wanted to get treatments for their pets and when the time came, they wanted to insure their animals were able to pass on in the right way – at home, with the best of care, surrounded by their human family.

    Dr. Alice looked into what was being done with pediatric oncology. She interviewed human patients and asked questions like, “You have this cancer. How does it feel?” Part of the reason for her research was because at vet school, she was taught animals don’t experience pain on the level they actually, in fact, do. Back in those days, rather than being given pain medications, animals were restrained for procedures and prevented from moving after surgery. Fortunately, all that has changed.

    As a member of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management, Dr. Alice knows that veterinary hospice practitioners must have extensive knowledge and expertise in pain management, because it is one of the biggest problems for cancer patients (both human and animal) at the end of their lives.

    Taking treatment of terminally ill pets and end-of-life care to the next level.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if, when she first got started, she was met with conflict. Were her colleagues confused? Did they question her? She replied, “Dr. Becker, I’m still pulling the arrows out of my back.” I asked her to expand on the conflicts and confrontations she has encountered.

    Dr. Alice explained that back in the early 1970s, treating a cat with both leukemia and FIP was “almost blasphemy.” People thought, “What is she doing?” But at UC Davis, they treated cats with lymphoma, and the most likely cat to have lymphoma was also positive for the leukemia virus.

    Dr. Theilen was the doctor who isolated the three subtypes of the leukemia virus that ultimately resulted in a vaccine. UC Davis was working extensively with leukemias and lymphomas in felines. In fact, Dr. Niels Pedersen of UC Davis is the person who characterized the FIP virus and discovered the feline immunodeficiency virus.

    Dr. Alice explains she was surrounded by fantastic researchers and a wonderful atmosphere. When she finished vet school, she was actually in the midst of a “mock” residency with Dr. Theilen who wanted to put a veterinary student through a clinical oncology program. So Dr. Villalobos actually began her residency while still a sophomore in vet school, and she continued that work for Dr. Theilen through her next three years of school.

    So in addition to the stigma attached to treating viropositive animals, Dr. Villalobos also had a passion for helping them die well. I asked her what kind of response she received. She answered that most of her colleagues felt they were already doing that – providing animals with a good end of life experience. But as she further explains, it requires a certain expertise. Palliative medicine is a specialty. She expects at some point it will become a specialty in veterinary medicine just as it is in human medicine.

    Dr. Alice goes on to explain that hospice is another area of expertise. She views it as, “The types of psychology that we need to know to help comfort the bewildered, bereft, grieving, and the anticipatory grief that comes through, even suicide. People feel that they can’t go on another day.”

    When a pet dies, veterinary professionals need to be well versed in all these forms of psychotherapy, comfort care and grief counseling. It’s a necessary service, but in a busy practice, when a DVM isn’t accustomed to working with end-of-life care patients and clients, it just doesn’t happen.

    Dr. Alice’s “pawspice” concept and the HHHHHMM quality of life scale.

    End-of-life care hasn’t been taught in vet schools. Students are taught how to euthanize animals, but that’s about it. I do think palliative medicine is coming, though, and certainly pain management is even farther along, thankfully. But putting all those pieces together to offer truly thoughtful, heartfelt support isn’t there yet.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if she thinks vet school courses are addressing some of these skills today. She replied she believes they are coming along. She says that after her textbook arrived in 2007, vet schools quickly took the book into their libraries, and some of the programs that were developed even taught pawspice.

    Dr. Alice explains she wanted to call pet hospice “pawspice” because the word hospice is actually very confusing for those who want to adapt the concept for veterinary medicine. She says that in human hospice, the arrival of death isn’t slowed down. Patients receive pain management, but what everyone is doing is simply waiting for the patient to die.

    In veterinary medicine, we can apply a quality of life scale to each patient. In fact, a scale that Dr. Villalobos proposed in 2004 went viral. It went everywhere. It’s the HHHHHMM scale. It’s designed to be easy to remember. The five H’s are for:

    … no Hurt
    … good Hydration
    … no Hunger
    … good Hygiene
    Happiness

    Hurt, Hydration, Hunger, Hygiene, and Happiness. These are the five basic areas that pawspice professionals must be able to talk to their clients about.

    The first M is for Mobility. This is extremely important for large pets, for example, Great Danes. If a Great Dane can’t move around on his own, it’s over unless there are some very strong family members who can physically move the dog as often as necessary. In smaller animals, mobility isn’t such a huge factor. On the quality of life scale, they can have a score of 0 all the way up to 10 and still be okay. It’s similar to people in wheelchairs – they can have great quality of life even though they don’t have full mobility.

    The second M is for More good days than bad days. This is something the pet’s family has to focus on. Is this a good day for Buddy? Or is this a bad day? If there are more bad days, say two or three or four in a row and no really good days, it’s time for the family to consider the gift of euthanasia.

    Our pets only think in present time. They exist in the now. Even if you’re five hours late coming home, they are still full of joy and not mad at you. They’re just happy to see you now, because they exist in the now. If they’re suffering now, that’s all they know, and if there are too many times of suffering, frustration builds up.

    Sometimes people don’t understand this. It can be difficult to understand things from a pet’s viewpoint. When there are more bad days than good days, our pets welcome the gift of euthanasia. They don’t need to live for the graduation of a niece or nephew. They’re not looking back with regret and hoping to reconcile with someone before they die. The human hospice philosophy simply doesn’t apply at the end of an animal’s life. They’re here to enjoy the moment. It their quality of life is poor, it’s up to us as their protectors not to make them endure further suffering.

    This is the way Dr. Alice talks to her clients, “You are his protector. Buddy needs you to make the decision to help him, you know, change worlds.” She says Barbara Myers, a pet loss consultant, uses that beautiful phrase, “Let’s help them change worlds.” It’s often comforting to families to use euphemisms like “transitioning,” or “crossing the Rainbow Bridge.” It’s not necessary to use tough words when talking about the death of a beloved companion animal. Families, and especially children, welcome thoughtful, loving words to describe what will be happening to their pet.

    End-of-life care/pet hospice is the fastest-growing specialty in veterinary medicine today.

    Next I asked Dr. Alice about her passion for teaching and consulting other professionals and vet schools about end-of-life care for pets. She explained that she has taught all over the world, and her textbook is translated into Spanish and Portuguese. When she goes to Portugal, Spain, or South America, she’s treated like a celebrity!

    Dr. Villalobos is also well known in the U.S. for being one of the leaders of the pet hospice movement. She says her decision to treat pets with cancer in vet school was pivotal in creating a specialty service for animals in the final stages of life. She says it’s the fastest-growing specialty service in all of veterinary medicine. New veterinarians in particular are really embracing pet hospice.

    Dr. Villalobos says one of the reasons for its popularity is that DVMs can set up an independent practice. They can do house calls. This is especially attractive to young DVMs who may not be able to find a practice they really like, or who work at a practice in which the owners want them to work more hours than they can handle while raising a family. Going the house call route has worked out very nicely for many of these young vets.

    Dr. Stephen Withrow of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center has incorporated hospice and end-of-life care chapters written by Dr. Villalobos in his textbook, and she says his students call her all the time for help. She says CSU has set up a wonderful hospice service, as have a number of other veterinary colleges in the U.S. It’s also a growing movement in Canada, South America and France.

    Helping pet owners give their animals a good quality death.

    Dr. Villalobos is also passionate about using the term “pawspice” for pets to alleviate the confusion and negative impression many people have of hospice services for humans.

    As she explains it, when a pet owner has arrived at those final moments, she or he is often paralyzed with doubt or fear about causing the pet’s passing by making that final decision to euthanize. Dr. Alice sees her job, and the job of all professionals in the specialty, to help comfort those pet owners by letting them know it’s actually a vet’s duty by the oath he or she takes to prevent suffering.

    In my practice, I tell clients that the decision to help their pet transition is, of course, the most difficult decision they may ever make. But I also explain that as their veterinarian, the most important thing I can do is to help their pet die well rather than poorly. I ask them, “Do you want to rip the Band-Aid off really fast, or really slow?” I explain that they will be heartbroken either way, but for their pet’s sake, we can help by offering a good and peaceful transition. A good quality of death.

    Dr. Villalobos believes quality of life/quality of death questions should also apply to humans. She says that if any of you listening or reading here today have a family member or a child with a terminal disease, you should advocate for a quality passing for that person.

    In human medicine, it’s all about what can be done – we can do this, and we can do that, and we can do something else. Even at the end of the road with, say, a cancer that has been resistant to all forms of treatment, someone will come up with yet another treatment that is usually more risky. The patient has an adverse reaction, winds up in the ICU, and has a bad death.

    One of the things I’m so grateful to Dr. Alice for is helping veterinarians understand it’s okay to tell a pet owner, “We’ve pushed this animal far enough.” It’s human nature, especially for optimists like me, to say, “We can try this and this and this” when our patients no longer want to keep going and their bodies are tired. I tell my clients that sometimes the body becomes a cage for the soul, and the body doesn’t work, so they need to think seriously about setting the soul free. Animals can become frustrated or depressed, and there comes a point where we should stop pushing, which actually takes all the pressure off the pet.

    Sometimes we need to give clients permission to say, “You know what? We’re going to stop and we’re going to voluntarily withdraw all treatment.” Instead of trying to cure or change the disease situation, we’re going to switch our focus to helping the animal have a peaceful, good quality death.

    The role of palliative medicine in end-of-life care.

    Dr. Alice has really helped veterinarians understand and be able to talk about dying well versus just euthanasia. There’s a gap between the two. When we have a terminal patient and we know euthanasia is coming, there are things we can do to prepare the family, the pet, and our hearts. Dr. Villalobos has paved the way for veterinarians in this regard and I’m really thankful to her for that.

    She explains that one of the reasons pawspice is different from hospice is that it incorporates palliative medicine, which is a very misunderstood area in human medicine, especially in the U.S. There’s this idea that palliative medicine is “giving up,” but it is not. It is simply taking care of symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. Dr. Villalobos stresses that we use standard medicine inside palliative medicine.

    She says that when a pet patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting cancer, with pawspice what she does is select standard therapy for that patient that will hopefully bring a period of welcome remission. But the therapy isn’t one that will be hard on the animal. It will be something that brings only good days – and few if any bad days. Dr. Alice avoids medications, therapies, treatments and regimens that will result in adverse events for the patient.

    For example, she may use a strong drug, but split it to give in two doses instead of one. The techniques she uses are in her textbook, and many DVMs are adopting them. Dr. Villalobos says it has evolved into something called metronomic therapy, which is a continuous low-dose treatment that reduces the formation of new blood vessels, which all tumors need in order to grow. Sometimes she just tries to control the tumor, maybe slow down the growth a little, while preserving the patient’s level of happiness and quality of life.

    Thank you, Dr. Alice!

    Since not all veterinarians are providing hospice care, I asked Dr. Alice where my Healthy Pets listeners and readers can go to learn more about end-of-life care. She invites everyone to visit her Pawspice website, where you can find lots of information and links to other resources.

    I so appreciate Dr. Villalobos taking the time to speak with me today. I’m grateful for all the work she has done and continues to do for sick and terminally ill animals.

    Related:

    Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

    Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

    The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

    Pet Age

    The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

    World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

    The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

    How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

    Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

    Pet owners turning to non-traditional

    A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

    ‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

    Adopt a Senior Pet…

    WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

    Heaven and Pets

    If I Should Die Before My Dog…

    Tails of Love

    ‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

    Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

    And God Created Dog…

    Dogs Know

    On the First Day God Created the Dog!

    Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

    A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

    And God Created Dog…

    Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

    GoD and DoG

    Dog, truly a gift!

    Rainbow Bridge…

    Books

    Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

    Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

    August 30, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

    If I Should Die Before My Dog…

    "If I Should Die Before My Dog – "

    We prepare for the what-if’s in our lives by establishing what would be needed in the event of our death or inability to care for our children. We buy insurance against the possibilities of loss to our cars, homes, valuables. We buy health and life insurance, even pet health insurance. But what about our pet’s needs if something happens to us? The book, "If I Should Die Before My Dog – " is an excellent tool in careful and complete considerations for your dog.

    Now, I’m not very good when it comes to the subject of dying. In fact, I’m a wreck. I once took a "Death and Dying" course as part of my psychology major. I flunked the class because I stopped going to it; I just couldn’t handle all that talk about dying! But I’ve learned over the years that there are some issues we must face, make decisions about and prepare for, whether we’re comfortable or not.

    I have four children, now all grown, and I’ve recently updated my estate planning documents. Should I pass away or become unable to handle my affairs, arrangements have been made. When the kids were small I had plans in place, and included contingencies for their care by trusted people who knew them well.

    But my pets? Much less so. Even for the famous pets that have made the news because of huge sums of inheritance left in their humans’ wills for the pets themselves, the need for their emotional well-being still exists. Each dog is a unique individual, with needs, desires, even fears that only you may know about.

    Having worked with cats that were either rescued or relinquished, I saw firsthand the sadness, confusion, even depression these precious animals experienced. Ask anyone who spends time with these pets, they’ll tell you the same. It’s not just humans who feel a great loss when they lose those they’ve had a close bond with. It breaks my heart to imagine that might be the scenario for my beloved pets one day.

    As a foster mom, I know the importance of knowing the details of a pet’s preferences, needs, quirks, likes and dislikes, known vocabulary. I’ve seen how it has helped provide for the best fit for both pet and adoptive family, and afforded the most consistency for the pet in such a time of great upheaval in its life.

    My copy of "If I Should Die Before My Dog – " is going to go right with the paperwork that entails my will and other legal documents that have been prepared in the event of my passing or inability to manage things. Having said that, I’m now going to go get the tissues my leaky eyes have sorely needed while reading through and filling out the book.

    While no one will ever take the place of you in your pet’s life, at least whoever takes over for you will have the information needed to make daily life as comfortable as possible. This book really is an important part of being a pet parent and providing the best for your dog.

    A Dog Lovers lasting guide…….A beautifully illustrated interactive book that one fills in all of the information about their dogs life in the event they can no longer care for them to help ensure your pets are taken care of.

    A thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog.

    This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian".

    None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another. 

    Author photo.jpg

    About the Authors – Joe and Cathy Connolly

    Joe and Cathy Connolly have spent a lifetime owning, training and caring for dogs. Cathy grew up with a Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog handler while attending many different dog shows and eventually went on to work with other breeders as she grew older. They live in beautiful Northern Michigan with their 3 furry four legged children, one large dog, one small dog and the entire family is supervised by one bossy calico cat.

     

    Related:

    Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

    In Pets We Trust

    Also see:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide

    While providing  for your pets after you are gone, good nutrition and some supplements are equally important to care for them now and for their longevity: StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

    January 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

    Pet Trusts Ensure Continued Care for Companion Animals

    THURSDAY, 07 JULY 2011 19:16

    070711SEN1BY GENE L. OSOFSKY, ESQ.

    Special to the Times

    Q: My two dogs are my constant companions and provide me a great deal of comfort,  but I worry about what might happen to them should something happen to me. Is there something I can do to provide for their care when I can no longer do so?

    A: Yes there is, and you are not alone in expressing your concerns. Our furry companions provide great comfort to us, and it’s natural to want to ensure their continued welfare.

    One technique is to create a Pet Trust. As its name implies, a Pet Trust is a trust created for the specific purpose of caring for companion animals. The essential elements are: the naming of a trustee to manage the money you place into the trust, a caretaker to take physical care of your pets, a non-profit backup to take the pets if your designated caretaker is not able to do so, and detailed instructions on how to care for your pets.  

    Since January 2009, Pet Trusts have become enforceable in California in a court of law. And, most other states have similar laws.

    The Pet Trust can be created in your will, but since the will is not effective until it is admitted to probate, which usually only occurs many weeks after death, it is better to create a pet trust during your lifetime. It can be created as either a stand-alone trust or as a separate part of your  Living Trust.

    The Pet Trust should be funded with enough money to cover the continued care of your companions for the duration of their anticipated lifetimes, including items such as anticipated veterinary fees and reasonable fees to their caregiver.

    The amount of funding need not necessarily be large: for smaller animals such as dogs and cats, a few thousand dollars may be sufficient, while more would likely be required for larger animals such as horses.

    But your death is not the only concern. What if you became ill and can no longer care for your animal companions?

    To address this concern, you may also wish to include suitable powers in your Durable Power Of Attorney authorizing your agent to take charge of your pets if you become incapacitated and either furnish pet care themselves or hire a suitable caregiver to do so at your expense.

    Likewise, you should give your agent specific instructions to bring your pets to visit you if feasible even if you’re not living in your own home, so that you and your pets can maintain your bond.

    Your estate planning attorney can assist you in creating a suitable Pet Trust as part of your estate plan. Taking this extra step to provide for your companion animals can bring you great peace of mind and the comfort of knowing they will be cared for when you can no longer do so yourself.

    Gene L. Osofsky is an elder law and estate planning attorney in Hayward. For more information, visit his website at www.LawyerForSeniors.com.

    Related:

    Leona Helmsley’s Will to Give $1 Million to Dog Causes, Down from $12M

    Plan Ahead For Your Pets’ Care… Like Oprah

    Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

    Using and Attorney is Often Best, Especially of You Are Talking Leona Helmsley or Oprah Money… For the Rest of Us Here Is A Great Book:   Order Your Copy Today:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

    Cross-Posted at Ask Marion

    July 9, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    ASPCA Asks Court to Direct Helmsley Money Back to Dogs

    ASPCA Asks Court to Direct Helmsley Money Back to Dogs

    The ASPCA, along with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Maddie’s Fund, filed suit this week in New York Surrogate’s Court to intervene in the matter of the late Leona Helmsley’s $5 billion estate. The suit seeks to overturn an earlier ruling that allows the Helmsley Trustees—those responsible for issuing charitable grants from the estate—to disregard Mrs. Helmsley’s specific instructions that her wealth be used to help dogs.

    “Just a fraction of the money involved in Mrs. Helmsley’s estate is a game-changer for animal welfare,” says Marsha Perelman, ASPCA Board Chair. “The fate of dogs in this country could very well rest on the decision of this lawsuit—it is that critical.”

    No nonprofit groups involved with animal welfare were contacted or given an opportunity to register formal objections prior to the court’s controversial ruling last fall. As a result of that ruling, and in clear violation of Mrs. Helmsley’s wishes, less than 0.1% the trust’s initial round of grants was allocated to dog welfare-related charities.

    “Dog fighting, puppy mills, pet homelessness and overpopulation are not $100,000 problems. But they’re not billion-dollar problems, either,” says Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “Mrs. Helmsley understood the importance of animal welfare. She wanted her worldly estate to make our society better for dogs and animals—and if distributed as she intended, it definitely has the power to do so.”

    This case has larger implications beyond the fate of the Helmsley estate. The three organizations believe that the court system has a responsibility to protect the wishes of any decedent, and also to protect the charity world from the whims of trustees who wish to ignore estate planning instructions. The misdirection of the Helmsley fortune should be of interest to everyone who hopes to provide for beloved pets after death, as well as to the multitude of organizations, from nonprofits to universities, that rely on bequests.

    The groups involved in the lawsuit are not seeking grants for themselves, but do hope to work with the Helmsley Trustees in an advisory capacity to award grants to animal welfare groups of various size and scope around the country. “There has been a sea change in recent years in how we treat animals. It’s a shame that the Helmsley Trustees don’t understand or respect that change,” says Sayres.

    Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #HelmsleyEstate

    Posted:  Just One More Pet

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    Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

    51ov3ajj0tl_sl160_-every-dogs-legal-guide

    August 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Leona Helmsley’s will to give $1 million to dog causes, down from $12m

    The Queen of Mean will get to throw dogs a bone after all – but that’s about it.

    The trustees for Leona Helmsley‘s estate said Tuesday they have started spreading her estimated $5 billion fortune by awarding $136 million in grants to charitable causes; a mere $1million is going to the dogs.

    Helmsley, who died in 2007 at age 87, had ordered in a 2004 revision to the mission statement for the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust that its money go to “purposes related to the provision of care for dogs,” along with other charities.

    A Manhattan judge ruled in February that the money was not limited to man’s best friend, allowing it to be spread among dozens of charities for sex abuse victims, Jewish day school students, the homeless and medical research.

    “Throughout their lives, the Helmsleys were committed to helping others, through the innovations of medical research, responding to those in need during critical times, and in other areas,” the five trustees said in a statement.

    “We now have the privilege of continuing their good works by providing support where it will make a difference.”

    The biggest grant, $40 million, will add doctors, improve technology and finance an expansion of the Center for Digestive Diseases at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell.

    Other recipients include a center for the bowel disease program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, a charity that provides food in southern Africa and Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, which is getting $2 million.

    Among the canine causes, Helmsley’s $1 million gift will be split among 10 charities, including some that train seeing-eye dogs and dogs for the deaf, and another that trains inmates to raise puppies to become bomb-sniffers.

    The Queen of Mean left $12million in her will to her beloved white Maltese, Trouble, while freezing out two of her grandchildren “for reasons that are known to them.”

    Last year, a judge awarded the disowned grandkids, Craig and Meegan Panzirer, $6 million, and sliced Trouble’s cut to $2 million. The remainder was to be put into the charitable trust.

    The grandkids charged Helmsley was not mentally competent when she signed her will.

    BY: JOSE MARTINEZjmartinez@edit.nydailynews.com
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    I say… Who is this judge to over rule someone’s will?  This money should all go to the charities and Leona’s designations, which means all to animals or the dogs if that was Leona’s wish!  Leona was a tough old bird and knew what she wanted!!!!  And if she wanted to disinherit her grandkids… so be it!  Why even a make will???? …Ask Marion/JOMP~

    Related Posts:

    Posted:  Just One More Pet

    Order Your Copy Today

    Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

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    August 12, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Michael Jackson set to be embalmed at the O2 Centre after missing the deadline for cryogenic freezing and Re-united With His Beloved Chimp Bubbles

    Michael Jackson will live on as a ‘plastinated’ creature preserved by German doctor Gunther von Hagens.

    Von Hagens has caused controversy with everyone from the Pope to the chief rabbi in Israel with his practice of embalming corpses with preserving polyurethane.

    Yesterday, he declared: ‘An agreement is in place to plastinate the King of Pop.’

    German anatomy professor Gunther von Hagens

    ‘An agreement is in place’: German doctor Gunther von Hagens says he is to preserve the King of Pop with polyurethane

    Michael Jackson with his Chimpanzee Bubbles in 1991

    Michael Jackson with his Chimpanzee Bubbles in 1991: Bubbles currently resides at the Body Worlds exhibit at the O2 Centre in London

    Von Hagens said that he spoke with representatives of the Jackson family ‘many months ago’ and it was agreed that his body will be plastinated and placed next to Bubbles, his late pet monkey who was plastinated a number of years ago and is exhibited at The Body Worlds & Mirror Of Time exhibition at the O2 Centre in London.

    Von Hagens also confirmed it was one of Michael’s final requests to be reunited with Bubbles.

    ‘There is no better place than to do this at the venue where Jackson was due to perform his world record 50-date tour,’ said a spokesman for Von Hagens.

    He added: ‘Von Hagens has hinted that a moonwalk pose would naturally be favoured. ‘It is hoped the exhibit will be unveiled towards the end of July.’

    It was widely believed that the singer, who died yesterday from a heart attack, was interested in having his body frozen in the hope he could later be brought back to life.

    However, it is now too late for his wish to be granted as the freezing process – cryonics – must be initiated almost immediately after death but an autopsy on Jackson’s body still needs to be carried out.

    cryogencis michael jackson

    Cryonic freezing: Michael Jackson would need to have been put in a supercooled chamber very soon after his death for it to be effective

    Cryonics is the cooling of legally dead people to liquid nitrogen temperature where physical decay essentially stops, with the idea that technology developed in the future will be able to revive them.

    No-one has ever been revived using this process although it is a popular subject in science fiction films such as Forever Young featuring Mel Gibson.

    Despite this, cryogenic freezing has become more popular over time.

    Media mogul Simon Cowell caused headlines recently after he said that he wanted to undergo the process.

    ‘Medical science is bound to work out a way of bringing us back to life in the next century or so, and I want to be available when they do,’ he said.

    How cryonics works

    The medical process is a complicated one. Immediately after a cryonic patient’s death certificate is signed by a doctor, a cryonics team restores the heartbeat and respiration using a machine to help keep cells in organs and tissues alive.

    The patient’s body is then cooled from body temperature (37C) to 10C as quickly as possible using ice.

    Mel Gibson

    Mel Gibson played a character from the 1930s who was frozen for 60 years in the 1992 film Forever Young

    Medication is added to their bloodstream to help preserve the body.

    Blood is then removed from the body and replaced with a saline-like solution that stops the shrinking or swelling of cells and tissues.

    Anti-freeze agents are added to the blood vessels and the body is placed in a special cooling box where it is cooled to between -120C and -196C and stored away.

    However, for this process to have any chance of working, the cryonic process must be started just minutes after ‘legal death’ is verified by doctors.

    This is because a dead person’s brain will start to experience a build-up of lactic acid at room temperature. Within 24 hours it will have virtually dissolved.

    So with an autopsy on Michael Jackson expected 24 hours after his death, it’s already too late for the Peter Pan of pop who never wanted to grow up.

    By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

    Source: True Health Is True Wealth

    Posted: Just One More Pet

    Related Article:

    Every Dog’s Legal Guide

    July 7, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Plan Ahead For Your Pets’ Care… Like Oprah


    According to a close friend of Oprah’s, like Leona Helmsley, whose dog Trouble inherited $12 million, billionaire Oprah is planning on bequeathing her dogs and menagerie of other animals a sum that could easily serve as hefty lottery winnings.

    When Oprah passes on, her pets are going to get $30 million for their care. A sum almost impossible for a handful of animals and their care-takers to go through, unless they have a team of experts at their disposal daily.

    The $30 million Oprah is said to be leaving her pets is, however, a bargain compared to the $250 million her boyfriend of 21 years, Stedman Graham, supposedly received as a “keep quiet or else” severance package.

    Not that any of us can leave our furry and feathered friends $30 million, making plans for their care in case we go first is something we should all do!!

    In tribute to her Cocker Spaniel who died last March, Oprah said, “Sophie gave me 13 years of pure unconditional love. She was the true love in my life. In fact, she’s been one of the greatest reasons for me to be a kinder, more gentler person”

    Posted:  Just One More Pet

    Related Resources:

    Order Your Copy Today

    Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

    51ov3ajj0tl_sl160_-every-dogs-legal-guide

    June 29, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

    Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

    Introduction 

    Because pets usually have shorter life spans than their human caregivers, you may have planned for your animal friend’s passing. But what if you are the one who becomes ill or incapacitated, or who dies first? As a responsible pet owner, you provide your pet with food and water, shelter, veterinary care, and love. To ensure that your beloved pet will continue to receive this care should something unexpected happen to you, it’s critical to plan ahead. This information sheet helps you do just that.

    What can I do now to prepare for the unexpected?

    In the confusion that accompanies a person’s unexpected illness, accident, or death, pets may be overlooked. In some cases, pets are discovered in the person’s home days after the tragedy. To prevent this from happening to your pet, take these simple precautions:

    • Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.
    • Make sure your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.
    • Carry a wallet “alert card” that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers.
    • Post removable “in case of emergency” notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency-response personnel during a fire or other home emergency. Don’t use stickers; hard-to-remove stickers are often left behind by former residents, so firefighters may assume that the sticker is outdated or, worse, they may risk their lives trying to find a pet no longer in the house.
    • Affix to the inside of your front and back doors a removable notice listing emergency contact names and phone numbers. Because pets need care daily and will need immediate attention should you die or become incapacitated, the importance of making these informal arrangements for temporary caregiving cannot be overemphasized. 

    How can I ensure long-term or permanent care for my pet if I become seriously ill or die?

    The best way to make sure your wishes are fulfilled is by also making formal arrangements that specifically cover the care of your pet. It’s not enough that long ago your friend verbally promised to take in your animal or even that you’ve decided to leave money to your friend for that purpose. Work with an attorney to draw up a special will, trust, or other document to provide for the care and ownership of your pet as well as the money necessary to care for her.

    How do I choose a permanent caregiver?

    First, decide whether you want all your pets to go to one person, or whether different pets should go to different people. If possible, keep pets who have bonded with one another together. When selecting caregivers, consider partners, adult children, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who have met your pet and have successfully cared for pets themselves. Also name alternate caregivers in case your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take your pet. Be sure to discuss your expectations with potential caregivers so they understand the large responsibility of caring for your pet. Remember, the new owner will have full discretion over the animal’s care—including veterinary treatment and euthanasia—so make sure you choose a person you trust implicitly and who will do what is in the best interests of your pet.

    Stay in touch with the designated caregivers and alternates. Over time, people’s circumstances and priorities change, and you want to make sure that the arrangements you have made continue to hold from the designated caregivers’ vantage points. If all else fails, it is also possible to direct your executor or personal representative, in your will, to place the animal with another individual or family (that is, in a noninstitutionalized setting). Finding a satisfactory new home can take several weeks of searching, so again, it is important to line up temporary care. You also have to know and trust your executor and provide useful, but not unrealistically confining, instructions in your will. You should also authorize your executor to expend funds from your estate for the temporary care of your pet as well as for the costs of looking for a new home and transporting the animal to it. The will should also grant broad discretion to your executor in making decisions about the animal and in expending estate funds on the animal’s behalf. Sample language for this approach is:

    {Article Number} A. As a matter of high priority and importance, I direct my Personal Representative to place any and all animals I may own at the time of my death with another individual or family (that is, in a private, noninstitutionalized setting) where such animals will be cared for in a manner that any responsible, devoted pet owner would afford to his or her pets. Prior to initiating such efforts to place my animals, I direct my Personal Representative to consult ______________________, D.V.M. (currently at the _______________________ Hospital), or, in the event of Dr. _____________’s unavailability, a veterinarian chosen by my Personal Representative, to ensure that each animal is in generally good health and is not suffering physically. In addition, I direct my Personal Representative to provide any needed, reasonable veterinary care that my animal(s) may need at that time to restore the animal(s) to generally good health and to alleviate suffering, if possible. Any animal(s) not in generally good health or who is so suffering—and whose care is beyond the capabilities of veterinary medicine, reasonably employed, to restore to generally good health or to alleviate suffering—shall be euthanized, cremated, and the ashes disposed of at the discretion of my Personal Representative. Any expenses incurred for the care (including the costs of veterinary services), placement, or transportation of my animals, or to otherwise effect the purposes of this Article ___________ up to the time of placement, shall be charged against the principal of my residuary estate. Decisions my Personal Representative makes under this Article ____________________—for example, with respect to the veterinary care to be afforded to my animal(s) and the costs of such care—shall be final. My intention is that my Personal Representative have the broadest possible discretion to carry out the purposes of this paragraph. 

    Can I entrust the care of my pet to an organization?

    Most humane organizations do not have the space or funds to care for your pet indefinitely and cannot guarantee that someone will adopt your animal, although some may be able to board and care for your pet temporarily until he can be transferred to his designated caregiver. There are, however, a few organizations that specialize in long-term care of pets of deceased owners. For a fee or donation, these “pet retirement homes” or “sanctuaries” may agree to find your pet a new home or care for your pet until she dies. Be aware, however, that pets are companion animals who need lots of care and affection; they may suffer from long-term confinement in such facilities. Your pet will not want to be institutionalized any more than you would want to be. Before making any formal arrangements, visit the organization to see how animals are cared for; where they are confined; who looks after them; when they are socialized and exercised; and what policies and procedures exist regarding care at the facility and placement with a new family. Also consider what might happen to your pet if the organization were to suffer funding or staff shortages. If you decide to entrust the care of your pet to an organization, choose a well-established organization that has a good record of finding responsible homes quickly.

    Can I request that my pet be euthanized after my death?

    Being concerned about what will happen to your pet after your death is normal. But some people take this concern to extremes, requesting that their pet be euthanized out of fear that no one else will care for the animal appropriately. When an owner puts this request in his will, that provision is often ruled invalid by the legal system when the animal is young or in good health and when other humane alternatives are available.  There are good homes out there for your pets and usually you can choose a home yourself in advance by planning and making arrangements.  If not, if you make the proper provision, a good home will be found.

    Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

    There are some cases when euthanasia may be appropriate. If a pet is very old or requires extensive treatment for a health condition, for example, it may be unfair to both the pet and your designated caregiver to insist on indefinite care. That’s why it’s important to choose a responsible caregiver and thoroughly discuss the animal’s condition and needs so that the caregiver can make the best decision after you’re gone.

    Do I need legal assistance?

    Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pet. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet is cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. The formalities of a will or trust may not take over for some time.

    In most cases, this book is all you need:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

    Is a will the best way to provide for my pet?

    Although your lawyer will help you decide what type of document best suits your needs, you should be aware of some drawbacks to wills. For example, a will takes effect only upon your death, and it will not be probated and formally recognized by a court for days or even weeks later. What’s more, if legal disputes arise, the final settlement of your property may be prolonged. Even determining the rightful new owner of your pet can get delayed. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet’s long-term care can be carried out.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not include a provision in your will that provides for your pet. It just means that you should explore creating additional documents that compensate for the will’s limitations.

    How can setting up a trust help?

    Unlike a will, a trust can provide for your pet immediately and can apply not only if you die, but also if you become ill or incapacitated. That’s because you determine when your trust becomes effective. When you create a trust for your pet, you set aside money to be used for his care and you specify a trustee to control the funds.

    • A trust created separately from the will carries certain benefits:
    • It can be written to exclude certain assets from the probate process so that funds are more readily available to care for your pet.
    • It can be structured to provide for your pet even during a lengthy disability.

    Which is right for me—a will or a trust?

    There are many types of wills and trusts; determining which is best for you and your pet depends on your situation and needs. It’s important to seek the advice of an attorney who both understands your desire to provide for your pet and can help you create a will and/or trust that best provides for him.

    You and your attorney also need to make sure that a trust for the benefit of one or more specific animals is valid and enforceable in your state. Even if your state law recognizes the validity of such trusts, keep in mind that tying up a substantial amount of money or property in a trust for an animal’s benefit may prove to be controversial from the point of view of a relative or other heir. Moreover, trusts are legal entities that are relatively expensive to administer and maintain, all of which underscores the need for careful planning and legal advice. After you and your lawyer create a will, a trust, or both, leave copies with the person you’ve chosen to be executor of your estate as well as with the pet’s designated caregiver so that he or she can look after your pet immediately. (The executor and caregiver may or may not be the same person.) Make sure the caregiver also has copies of your pet’s veterinary records and information about her behavior traits and dietary preferences.

    Consider also a Power of Attorney

    Powers of attorney, which authorize someone else to conduct some or all of your affairs for you while you are alive, have become a standard planning device. Such documents can be written to take effect upon your physical or mental incapacity and to continue in effect after you become incapacitated. They are simpler than trusts and do not create a legal entity that needs to be maintained by formal means. Provisions can be inserted in powers of attorney authorizing your attorney-in-fact—the person designated to handle your affairs—to take care of your pets, expend money to do so, and even to place your pets with permanent caregivers if appropriate.

    Like any other legal device, however, powers of attorney are documents that by themselves cannot ensure that your pet is fed, walked, medicated, or otherwise cared for daily. Legal devices can only complement your personal efforts in thinking ahead and finding temporary and permanent caregivers who can take over your pet’s care immediately when the need arises. It is critical to coordinate, with more formal legal planning, your own efforts in finding substitute caregivers.

    For more information

    If you or your legal advisor would like more information on any of these matters, please contact The HSUS’s Planned Giving Office, at 1-800-808-7858, or The HSUS’s Office of the General Counsel, at 202-452-1100, extension 3320.

    You can help your fellow species even after you’re gone with a bequest supporting HSUS animal protection programs. Naming The HSUS in your will demonstrates your lasting commitment to animal welfare. Please keep in mind that we’re just as happy to be last in line in your will; we hope you will consider The HSUS for at least the residue of your estate. In the meantime, we have materials on numerous subjects that we can send you, including:

    Bequests/Wills

    • How to include The HSUS in a will as a primary or secondary beneficiary
    • How to include The HSUS in a will as a final beneficiary for the residue of an estate
    • “37 Things People ‘Know’ About Wills That Aren’t Really So”
    • The HSUS Creative Estate Planning Course 

    Other Estate Planning Vehicles and Charitable Gifts

    • Charitable gift annuities and trusts
    • Helping Hands recognition society
    • Kindred Spirits pet memorials
    • Making gifts of stock and avoiding capital gains tax 

    NOTE: The foregoing is intended to provide general information and to stimulate your thinking about providing for your pet in the event of your incapacity or death. It is not intended to provide legal advice and is definitely not a substitute for consulting a local attorney of your choosing who is familiar both with the laws of your state and with your personal circumstances and needs, and those of your pets.


    Courtesy of

    www.hsus.org

     

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    Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

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    February 13, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments