As media have brought attention to natural catastrophes that have left shelters overflowing with suddenly orphaned or stranded dogs, shelters and other institutions responsible for their care have increasingly worked to get word out about their plight. After 9/11 alone, 800 pets were left bereft by their caregivers’ sudden deaths, prompting Amy Shever to found 2ndchance4pets.org. Years earlier, she had watched dogs whose owners had passed relinquished to a shelter where she’d volunteered. Their lives ended in premature euthanasia. The site walks owners through tips on how to prevent this from happening to their pets.
The Humane Society’s “Back Up Plan,” released in 2013, also offers a series of tips on how to prepare for your pet’s needs when you are no longer able to at www.humanesociety.org. And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently joined with Legal Zoom to provide a Pet Protection Agreement. Learn more at www.aspca.org.
Attorneys like Ms. Borg will likely contribute to the growing awareness about a pet’s place in a will. People “often describe not having a great relationship with their family, not having a particular charity that’s near or dear to their heart,” she says. “But their eyes light up when they hear that they have this option to make sure their pet is looked after.”