Thinking About The Unthinkable.

We are often urged to think about the end of the life of our pets but how often do we think about what would happen to them if we die suddenly: especially if we live alone. There are many potential scenarios and it is impossible to cover them all but two happened( within the space of a few weeks. The longer term issue of what is going to happen to your pet is obviously important but it is the immediate practicalities that are often not thought about.    

Having been in this situation with a friend, who lived alone, who was walking her dog in the morning, having coffee with her afterwards and then hearing that she had died that evening it brought it home as to what needs to be considered, however uncomfortable.

If the owner lives alone it may be a friend, neighbour or family member who raises concern and dials 999 asking for assistance and this means that the police will be called along with the ambulance.  The operator will tell you what to do and the paramedics will confirm the death. 

Unbelievably, within a month, another scenario came to my attention when an elderly owner was taken into hospital and her four dogs were left alone in her house for 3 days before anyone went to feed them.  The emergency services are obviously concerned with people and not pets and if there is no one in the house to look after your pet then the police, if they are present at the scene, will arrange for it to go to the local RSPCA or maybe it will get left in the house with no action taken. However, there are some simple actions that can be taken to ensure your pet is cared for.

In the house have a card that is displayed in a prominent place with contact numbers on it. This is not meant to be a primary means of identification but purely a means for allowing your pet to be cared for in an emergency situation.

Preferred phone numbers: The phone number of a trusted neighbour, relative or friends in the area who can help out in an emergency and have access to the property. (Even in the middle of the night).

It is also useful to have a list of other information such as:

Medications: List of any medication your pet may be taking.  Include the name of the medicine, the dosage, how many times a day and what time it is taken.

Vet: in case your pet needs treatment in the immediate future.

Name of pet and any other information you feel is relevant.

You can also carry a card with the contact numbers in your wallet so that if something happens to you whilst you are away from the house the emergency services will be alerted to the fact you have pets at home that need care.

It is obviously essential to speak to your designated contacts and make sure they are willing to act and know what is required of them. It may be that they are only going to be a temporary carer but they need a key, or know where you keep your spare key and any codes that are needed. They also need information about your pet so they are cared for properly.

It is possible to buy emergency SOS packs and all you have to do is arrange your contact details and fill in the information.

Hopefully this information will never be needed but it is better to be prepared for the unthinkable.