What happens to your elderly parents pet if something happens to them?

Did you know that if you or your parent(s) don’t have legal wishes/requests in place for their animals, this could affect the future residence of the family pet if circumstances suddenly change?  If for instance your elderly mum had a fall at home and because of the injuries she sustained she needed to move into an Aged Care facility, and her dog suddenly needed a new home, could you take care of it?  What if you are not in a situation where you want to, or can take her dog, can you then take the dog to a dog’s home in good faith to find it a good home?  If you are not legal power of attorney or a chosen legal representative, then unfortunately the dog’s home would not be able to accept the dog because the dog is not yours to give.  Homes such as the Lort Smith Animal Hospital check the microchip details on the dog and match these against your ID.  You will need to show identification that you are the owner, or paperwork to prove that you have the legal capacity to relinquish the dog for adoption.

If you are already under pressure trying to find the best suited Aged Care home for your parent in a short space of time, as well as navigating your way through a maze of forms you are struggling to understand, imagine if you are now stuck with a dog you can’t find a good home for.

How can you avoid a situation like this, and what steps could you put in place to ensure that this would never happen?

  • Plan ahead!  Think about two responsible friends or relatives and ask them if they would service as emergency animal caregivers in the event that something happens to you or your loved one. Write a list with feeding and care instructions, the name of your vet, and any other information about the permanent care you would like for your pet.  Leave a copy of this list with a neighbour, and a copy easily located at home.
  • Have an ‘alert card’ inside your wallet or purse listing the type and name of your pets, listing their caregivers and contact details.

  • Have your legal documents in place such as your will listing power of attorney or nominated representative, so these people have unobstructed access to make decisions on your behalf.

Humane organisations such as the RSPCA don’t have the room or funds to care for your pet if you suddenly have to go to hospital or into Aged Care, so it’s really important you have made other arrangements just in case.

If you make formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, ensure you seek help from professionals who can best guide you in completing legal documents.  If you want to know that your pet is taken care of according to your wishes, then it’s critical you get correct advice beforehand!

The Lort Smith Hospital may be able to assist with surrender of a pet.  All animals are admitted by appointment only when space becomes available.  They try to find a happy, suitable and loving home for each animal that comes into their care, but they cannot guarantee an adoption outcome for every animal.  Find out more details about surrendering your pet here.

If there is no trusted friend or family member to care for your or your loved ones pet after you have gone, the Lort Smith hospital in Melbourne has a program in place called ‘The Pet Legacy Program’.  This program can give you peace of mind, knowing that your pets will be cared and provided for, for the rest of their days should your pet outlive you. There is a minimum bequest of $5,000 for each pet registered.  The $5,000 bequest helps to ensure all the pets medical bills will be covered, no matter what their needs, for life. The Lort Smith shelter and adoption centre relies on donations.  More details can be found here.

Lort Smith Animal Hospital

RSPCA Victoria

If you would like to arrange a visit to one of our Aged Care Homes in Melbourne or Geelong, please contact us here or call 1300 104 663 to book a tour and for any admission enquiries.

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