How to make sure your pet is looked after when you die

Sadly, a common reason animals end up in a shelter is because their guardian died or became incapacitated and didn’t have a plan for rehoming their beloved pet. When such an animal arrives at Marin Humane, often there is little information about that pet. In the absence of medical and behavioral histories, knowing whether the pet has lived with other animals and understanding what type of home will be best, evaluations and placement can take a while. Having so little to go on can make the task of finding the right new home a lengthy process.

Some people do make arrangements in advance to entrust their pet to a close friend or relative and create a pet trust to provide future financial support. Unfortunately, incurring attorney fees to establish a pet trust and identifying a responsible pet guardian are not possible for everyone.

As Marin’s open-door shelter, Marin Humane accepts any Marin County animal surrendered to us, but our innovative Guardians Program offers the opportunity to plan for your treasured pet’s compassionate care and smooth transition to a new home, should something happen that prevents you from doing so. And as new pets join the household, they, too, can be enrolled. This benefit is available to our Legacy Society participants who make an annual donation in any amount. Many pet guardians have shared that this frees them from worry, knowing a well-thought-out rehoming plan is in place.

Providing Marin Humane with current pet information means adoption counselors will be familiar with a pet’s medical and behavioral background, as well as the endearing idiosyncrasies and preferences that make them uniquely lovable. With this information, our staff can fast-track these pets, making them available for adoption more quickly by avoiding the typical holding period for multiple evaluations. Our goal is to find a home that’s as stable and loving as the one they shared with you. And when requested, Marin Humane’s experienced matchmakers will do their utmost to rehome bonded pets together, even when it requires extra time.

Sausalito resident Christina Fisher enrolled in the program because her relatives live abroad.

“I don’t want to rely on friends to take on the burden of caring for my cat, should that ever be necessary,” she says. “It means a lot to me and gives me peace of mind that my cat, Andy, will be taken care of after I am gone.”

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