Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

As a responsible pet owner, you provide your pet(s) with food and water, shelter, veterinary care, and much love. But what happens to your pet(s) if you unexpectedly become ill or incapacitated or die? It is critical for you to plan so your pet(s) is/are not overlooked. The importance of arrangements for care giving for the unexpected cannot be overemphasized.

Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event 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(s).

If you are incapacitated or die, make sure your wishes for your pet(s) are fulfilled by making formal arrangements that specifically cover the care of your animals. It’s not enough that maybe some time ago a friend or relative verbally promised to take in your pet(s) or even that you’ve decided to leave money 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(s) as well as the money necessary for their care.

If you have multiple pets, decide whether you want your pets to go to one person or whether different pets go to different people. When selecting caregivers, consider partners, adult children, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who have met your pet(s) and have successfully cared for pets themselves. Also name alternate caregivers in case your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take your pet(s). Be sure to discuss your expectations with potential caregivers so they understand the large responsibility of caring for your pet(s). 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(s).

Remember to 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.

You should consider giving directions to the executor or personal representative of your will for the temporary care of your pet(s) as well as for the costs for looking for a new home and transporting the pet(s) to it. The will should also grant broad discretion to your executor in making decisions about your pet(s) and in expending estate funds on the pet(s’)’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.

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(s0 can get delayed. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet(s’)’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 pets. It just means that you should explore creating additional documents that compensate for the will’s limitations.

Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet(s), seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pe(s)t. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet(s)  is/are cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. 

Reference: Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

Other Projects!

Festival of Trees Participation

PSSC’s Contribution to the AKC Disaster Relief Trailer

On September 20 the Will County Emergency Management Agency was presented with an AKC Reunite Pet Disaster Relief trailer.

​PSSC Donates Dog Training Device to the Normal Police Department

The Prairieland Standard Schnauzer Club of Central Illinois (PSSC) donated a behavior shaping device (BSD) to the Normal Police Department to be used in the training of dogs by the Normal, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois Police Departments and the McLean County Sheriff’s Office. The K9 BSD or Behavior Shaping Device can be a valuable tool in shaping detection dog behavior. The device is most effective on dogs when behavior can be controlled with ball, tug etc. in a variety of different environments. The trainer controls the training as the K-9 BSD is just a unique tool to expand positive reinforcement training. 

Thor, the K-9 dog of the Normal Police Department


Copyright © prairieland standard schnauzer club.

AKC Licensed

Gwen Kirman and Penny Duffee attended the presentation on behalf of PSSC & SSCA.

They were accompanied by Zorro and Elin.

This is the first trailer in the state of Illinois.

The 10 donor organizations included Prairieland Standard Schnauzer Club of Central Illinois and the Standard Schnauzer Club of America. The clubs raised $12,000 and then AKC Reunite matched the donations with a $10,000 grant to cover the total $22,000 cost of the trailer.

Emergency personnel can put together either a co-location shelter (in conjunction with a shelter for people) or a separate lost-and-found shelter. The trailer can provide a safe temporary home for at least 65 pets during an emergency.

K-9 BSD-3R, Remote Ball Launcher with Black cover
The range of the K9-BSD device is designed to eject popular reward items with enough distance and speed to engage prey drive in most working dogs.

K-9 BSD Benefits: In training timing is everything.

The K-9 BSD allows split second timing of reinforcement.
Unmatched drive and focus with a remote active reward.
Reduces both unwanted handler cues and need for assistants.
Delivers a variety of rewards.
Reinforce behaviors when animal and handler are separated by large distances.

The training device was presented to K-9 Officer Shane Bachman of the Normal (Illinois) Police Department. You can go to to see how detection training is done using a Behavior Shaping Device. Go to and type in under search Detection Dog Training K-9 BSD HDPE Boxes.mpg to see a demonstration of detection dog training used a Behavior Shaping Device.