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Taking Care of Your Pets After You Are Gone

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer turns the life you once knew on its head. It is overwhelming, with a million worries you never had before and a million things you suddenly have to think about. This includes your pets. If you have reached a point where your cancer is at an advanced stage, or if you just want to be prepared for when the end is near, we have some suggestions that can help you have peace of mind regarding your beloved pets.


Ask Friends and Family

If you are leaving behind a spouse or other family members, the easiest solution is to just have them continue to care for the animals after you are gone. However, if you don't have such people in your life, or if you know that these people aren't going to want to care for your animals after you are gone, it's wise to think about someone else who might be willing to take them. Have a few different people in mind, and let them know they are under no pressure or obligation to take your animals. You want your pets to go to a great home, not just any home.
It's a good idea to have a few different people who are willing to take your animals in case your first choice falls through or something else unexpected happens. For example, your sister might be willing to take your pets but then realizes she can't when her child develops an allergy.
Do you have pets that are particularly bonded to each other and you don't want to split them up? Make sure you are explicit in this when you line up future caretakers. Granted, there's no guarantee pets will stay together after you are gone, but do the best you can.

Other Options

If you got your pet from a breeder, you may have signed a contract in which the animal goes back to the breeder should you ever be unable to keep it. Even if you don't have such a contract in place, talk to the breeder anyhow. He or she might be perfectly willing to help you out here.
But what do you do if you don't have anyone at all you can ask to take your pets? Several purebred rescue organizations exist that might be willing to foster your animals temporarily until they find a new "forever" home for them. Local shelters will also take your animals and try to find new homes for them. There are even organizations that will care for your pet for its lifetime, provided you make a large gift (usually around $10,000 to $25,000).
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