Friday, March 13, 2009

What Happens to your Pets if Something Happens to YOU?

Last week, my best friend Donna called me with some upsetting news. One of her friends, Susan, died suddenly at a young age (I believe Susan was younger than both of us, but I could be wrong.) It truly was a shock for Donna, a mutual friend and everyone who knew Susan.

I can't tell you how many times I'd call Donna on her 'weekend off' from work and find her with Susan or about to meet Susan for coffee at Starbucks. In fact, Donna usually had to clarify, because she had two friends in Jacksonville named Susan, both met through work-this Susan was "coffee Susan".

Donna is a HUGE animal lover. To the point that for a time, she worked as a part time pet sitter. She still does this for many of her friend's animals, Susan's two cats included. It is a given that if any of her fellow travel agent friends are doing FAM trips or taking advantage of one of the benefits of their career, Donna is offering to care for their pets.

And so it was with Susan. She had two loveable cats, one very social, the other a bit more timid. The cats were both showered with love and affection and pampered as pet lovers are known to do. While Donna is in shock and still processing the fact that Susan is gone, she has worried for these two cats. What will happen to them?

A coworker had assumed Susan's mother would take the cats and return to Pittsburgh with them. This was not the case. Developing a rapport with the cats over the years, Donna was trying to figure out what to do. Her apartment is small, she has an older (very loveable) dog who is accustomed to being the only animal. Donna is the type of owner who brings her animal to the vet for the slightest injury or illness-two more are not in the already tight budget. (not to mention the lease stipulations).

She tried to figure out solutions, who could take these cats? Someplace where they would be kept together, as they already were traumatized by their owner dying in their home. Donna asked around, a coworker offered to pay for the food if Donna would take them in.

As Donna shared the updates, I wished that I could help out. Our lease doesn't specifically state no pets, but our landlord has verbally expressed his preference that we not have any. With Gameboy and I having pretty severe cat allergies, it wouldn't be a good idea. I racked MY brain, trying to think of anyone I knew who could take them in, that would be the kind of owner they were accustomed to having. I came up blank.

Susan's family ultimately found a solution, after contacting every no kill shelter and rescue they could find. A gentleman running the Caboodle Ranch came to pick up the two cats the other night. This video shows their new home.

I am in awe of what Craig Grant does, but I can't help but mourn for these two cats. They were used to being the only two, lavished with love and affection from their human parent. Now, they'll be in an outdoor environment, two of many. Yes, they'll have food and shelter, but this is a huge adjustment for them. Thankfully, they are being cared for and weren't sent to a shelter that is probably full of animals who may or may not be put to sleep.

Today, I ask you a few things:

1. Do you have plans for your animals in the event that something happens to you? Have you put these plans in writing or discussed them with those you'd like to care for them? (Yes, Donna and I have discussed what would happen to Comet if something happened to her-he's like my dog by proxy already)

2. When getting a pet, do you consider what will happen to them if something happens to you? We do for our offspring, but the four legged should be given similar attention?

3. Would you consider donating money, time or resources to Caboodle Ranch or a similar facility in your area?

Those who know me know how much I love dogs. Part of the reason why I don't is because of the answers I give myself to questions one and two.

If you have pets, please give them a big hug today and consider it a hug from Donna and Susan.

2 People talked back:

ligirl said...

This is beautiful. Thank you so much for writing it. I miss her every day and just pray that Max and Smokey are happy and adjusting to their new home.

Shannon said...

I am so sorry to hear that about your friend's friend. How sad. What a wonderful place the Caboodle Home is though. I am glad y'all found it. Your questions are good ones. I am a HUGE animal lover. My dream is to have a ranch where older animals or animal that no longer has a home can live out it's life.