Thursday, November 5, 2009
IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES
When we became involved in the sport of dogs we did so because it was something that was of interest to US and because WE loved the German Shepherd dog. For most of us, it became a way of life. It was not only a sport or hobby but it became a way to socialize with people who also shared our love of the breed. We may have joined our local breed club, participated in their handling classes, trained our dogs in obedience or helped organize a point show. We saw the same people month after month and even made some new friends that we didn’t know before. There is never a lack of conversation at these social gatherings because when you’re involved in the sport of dogs, there is always something to say and there will always be differences of opinion. This is how we all learned. But we felt comfortable there. We were among friends.
Time passes, we grow older, many dogs will come in and out of lives and then a time comes when we are no longer able to do the things that we once enjoyed. We still connect with our friends talking with them on the telephone or on the internet. Perhaps we go to a local dog show once in awhile just to be around all the beautiful dogs and to see our friends again. Our friends are getting old right along with us. Can it be that so many years have gone by and now we’re watching all the new people who have come into the breed? We watch as their eyes light up bragging about a new hopeful that they’ll be showing in the spring. We remember those days too when our hearts were on fire and we were filled with excited anticipation.
When one ages, we know that there are things that we have to prepare for in our life. It’s just a process that we all will go through. Life happens. It doesn’t ask our permission. Hopefully, we have made preparations for our beloved dogs that may be left behind. This can be one of the hardest of things to prepare for. When we make out a will, who will be WILLING to take care our dogs and all the responsibility that goes along with it? We can’t just assume that a sister or a brother will look after them. This is something that must be discussed with the person you would like to take care of your dogs. Because we love them, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Sure they may think they’re cute when they come to visit you at your house and the dog wants a pat on the head. However, patting them on the head and keeping them is a whole different story.
If you have many dogs, this will present an even bigger problem. Many times the dogs will have to go in different homes. How many people do you know who will take them? Maybe one person will, but what about the rest of them? Some people may tell you that they’ll take your dog thinking it won’t be too much of a problem. If these people never owned a dog in their life, it might very well be a problem. If you are looking for someone to take care of your animals when you are gone, it’s a very good idea to leave some money in your will for the care of your dogs. We all know how expensive taking care of animals can be. The burden of taking care of someone else’s dogs is hard enough. We don’t want to burden these people further with financial difficulties that may arise by taking care of our dogs.
Having dogs in our lives is something that WE chose to do. WE have a love for this breed. Most people who are not involved in dogs do not share our feelings for them. In some cases if you have some young well bred animals, some other breeders may want them for their own breeding and showing program. However, never assume that people will. You must approach these people to see if this is something that they may be interested in. Tell them that you want to put their name in your will before you do so.
And what about the older dogs who may have special needs and special diets? Maybe they need to have their arthritis medicine. Perhaps they can’t stay out in a dog run. They need to be in the house. Who is there to watch over them when they need to go outside to go to the bathroom? They no longer can hold themselves and may eliminate on their new “owners” oriental rug? Who besides dog people will put up with needy animals problems? Our love for the “oldsters” may have no limitations. This may not be true for their new guardian.
What happens if you become sick and are not physically able to take care of your dogs any longer? Suppose you live by yourself……who will take care of your dogs? Are you financially able to have someone come in do the work that you would normally do? It’s probably a smart thing to do to have a typed up set of directions on how to take care of your dogs (feeding, watering, cleaning, housing, etc.) in case such a situation should present itself.
Making out a will is not just for the “senior citizens” but should also be done by people who are younger and have dogs that may be left behind. Tomorrow is promised to no one and one never knows what each new day has in store for them. Animals don’t stop living because we do. When 5 o’clock comes around, they’re still looking to be fed. Who will be there to feed them?
What type of facilities does the new owner have for taking care of your dogs? Some breeders have dogs that have never set foot in a house. They are kennel dogs. This is all that they have known all their lives. What becomes of these guys? Who would have the time or even want to start training a kennel dog to be a house dog? How many people have dog runs and kennel housing in their back yard? How many people even want them on their well manicured lawns? How many people have their back yard fenced in?
Most good breeders feel that if we brought these animals into the world, we have a responsibility for their life and that doesn’t stop because we are no longer here. We must prepare for the time that we are not here because our animal’s life depends upon it. It is not unheard of that when an animal owner passes away, their animal is put into a shelter. This is not what we planned for our beloved pet, but unless we do plan NOW, this very well may be where he ends up! No one likes to talk about this subject, but it’s part of our reality and truth be told we don’t know what tomorrow or even what today will bring to us. It’s better to be prepared so our animals will be taken care of even if it will no longer be by us. We owe it to them to keep them safe and that they have a quality of life that they deserve. After all, WE wanted them. WE love them. Not everyone else does.
My rating: making out a will no matter what age you are: (4), approaching people about taking care of your dogs when you no longer can: (4), leaving money in your will to take care your dogs: (4)