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How to provide for pets after you’re gone

Updated: March 16, 2012 8:02AM

Q. We are updating our wills and having a difficult time. We have several dogs who would probably not be adoptable. We have some money to help with the costs, but they will need more care than just that. We have no one we trust capable of caring for them.

We are both over 68 years old and not in the best health. Court trusts and similar situations seem to be ineffective answers. Standard pet protection clauses do not seem to fit the situation without a person of trust involved. Putting them to sleep when the last of us dies seems to be the only solution but a very painful thought. Have you any suggestions on how to save them when we die?

A. Dog Lady applauds you for watching out for the safety and security of your animals. Just as humans draw up trusts, wills, and health care proxies to make their wishes known, animal guardians must provide for care of their dog dependents. You should contact your regional SPCA or Humane Society and present your situation.

The San Francisco SPCA,, has a program that finds homes for the pets of decreased members, with full medical care included. Rescue organizations are also dedicated to finding homes for orphaned pets. Often, a trustworthy representative can be enlisted without a personal connection. You can also hire a lawyer with animal interests who can act on your behalf.

Q. My husband and I have a little Aussie (Australian shepherd). For the most part, he is an incredibly well behaved dog. However, whenever we leave, he tears up anything he can get his hands on. Is it too late for crate training?

A. It’s not too late. Aussie needs the boundaries of a container to prevent him from tearing down the house. A sane dog views its crate as a welcome sanctuary. Make sure you give your Aussie a break during the day and do not use the crate as punishment.

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