In the month of June, ONC celebrates pets. Our animal companions offer love, support, humor and much more in our daily lives. As we age, or as our life circumstances change, we sometimes have to shift in how we care for our pets. Sometimes, through death or illness, we can’t care for our beloved pets any longer. We spoke with Jennifer Johnston Chopping of Caring Hearts for Canines, an Aberdeen-based dog rescue, about what to do when caring for our pets is beyond our capacity.
ONC: How many animals do you see needing a home or being displaced because owners either become too ill to care for pets or because owners pass away? Is this an issue for pet owners we’re not fully aware of?
Jennifer Johnston Chopping: Caring Hearts has been contacted on several occasions to take a pet when their owner has passed away.
ONC: What can pet owners do to anticipate a pet’s needs if, for example, they have an upcoming surgery or might require rehabilitation care?
JJC: Oftentimes you can find a boarding facility that may be willing to give a discounted rate to help someone that will be in the hospital or having surgery. Sometimes a rescue may have an open foster who would be willing to keep a dog until the owner is able to care for the dog again.
ONC: If a family finds itself needing to rehome a pet due to a death in the family, what is the first step in starting that process? Do people immediately think of shelters when there are other options?
JJC: We have found that often family members are not able to keep the pet from the deceased person, so they reach out to no-kill shelters or non-profit rescues to take the animal in.
ONC: Do you have any tips for family or friends who find themselves caring for pets while someone is recovering from illness or after a death?
JJC: The best thing to do is to help provide the pet with a new “normal.” Pets often grieve and may possibly become anxious/worried because their owner passes away and they don’t understand what is happening.
ONC: Finally, what can owners do if they find themselves unable to care for a dog as they age? Is it best to rehome a pet? Should an owner hire a pet sitter or dog walker?
JJC: I always encourage people to try their best to keep a pet but if it is not possible, we recommend finding them a new home suitable for their needs or reaching out to a rescue that will find their pet a new home.
Many of us want to donate or support local rescues but are unsure what is needed. Here is Chopping’s list of most-needed supplies:
- Peanut Butter
- Laundry Detergent
- Wet Food (cat and dog)
- Cat Food
- Dog Treats
- Cat Treats
Caregiver Options for Pet Owners
If you or a loved one are finding it difficult to take care of a pet later in life, consider CaregiverNC. Our registry helps to pair Caregivers with Care Seekers based on their needs and experience for personal care at home. Our process is safe and simple – all of our listed Caregivers are pre-screened and verified.
Contact our team online or call our concierge directly at (910) 692-0683 today!