Monday, January 14, 2008
This is Tommy. He lives with me and the furry members of my household. Tommy's parents died in 2007, and their children thought it best that Tommy was put to sleep. After all, he was around 15 years old, diabetic, and had never lived with other animals. Their father had hung on for as long as he could, telling those around him that he had to take care of Tommy. Sadly, his time on earth came to an end and Tommy's fate had been decided--euthanasia.
A cousin and I tried to find a home for Tommy, but for some reason, a geriatric cat with diabetes is not high on most people's adoption list. So he came to live with me. He adapted to the other cats amazingly quickly (though of course there is still the occasional hissing). Tommy's diabetes is being treated, but it's yet to get under control. Yes, he moves more slowly than his new and younger brothers and sisters, but then so do I. Tommy is a very loving cat who loves to sleep on my bed. Often when I look at him I can't help but remember how close he came to not being here.
So what is the purpose of this story? Modern medicine has meant longer lives for humans and for animals. It's not that unusual to hear of a cat living for more than twenty years. It's important for all of us to make arrangements for the care of our pets should we die or become incapacitated. Of course there's no guarantee that our wishes will be followed, but at least someone will know what we wanted.
Write down what should happen to the pets should we no longer be able to care for them. And make sure the person designated as a guardian is willing to accept the responsibility. Make sure that friends and family are aware that you have designated a Pet Care Proxy and where the instructions are placed.
When we take on the responsibility of becoming a pet parent, it's a lifelong commitment. It's important that their futures are secured. Just remember what almost happened to Tommy.