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Worry About Leaving A Pet

Gretchen Heuring for ElderThink


It's perfectly normal be anxious about leaving a pet behind for an extended period of time. We might want to travel, or have an emergency that keeps us away.


Preparing For An Emergency That Leaves Your Pet Alone

There are some immediate steps that could bring peace of mind, as well as some longer term solutions.


Create a small card that describes the pet and gives it's name and any special instructions for care. Contact information for a friend or neighbor who would assist in caring for the pet could go on the card too. Put the card into your wallet, right next to a Medicare or other insurance card.


Put a copy of these instructions on the door of the refrigerator. First responders, who come to our homes in emergency situations are trained to look on refrigerator doors for instructions or information.


When preparing this information, try to consider what a stranger would need. Where exactly is the leash or important pet medication most likely to be found?


Your physician will have a record of a person to call in case of an emergency. You might have suggested a relative or friend. Be sure that person has a copy of your emergency instructions about your pet.


Care For Your Pet When You Plan To Be Away

There is a whole range of pet sitters. You might have a neighbor or friend or relative who will come in to feed and exercise your pet, water your plants and bring in the mail. But sometimes this familiar person is not availble.


There are also pet sitters that advertise online. Generally they are bonded and reliable. Some will come to your home and others want you to leave the pet with them at their home. You will need to explore and ask questions. Almost always these are people who love animals and want to make a little extra money by taking care of yours. A good place to start is with a national service called


You may wish to find a kennel service for your pet. In days gone by, these could be ugly places, but now they are generally very nice with play times, grooming and even swimming pools for dogs. Some even have cameras so you can see your pet on a computer. Choose two or three to visit in advance so you can see for yourself what is offered and what the cost would be.


If paying for this service is difficult for you, there are resources where you can apply for financial aid. Rachele Baker, Veterinarian and Author, lists organizations that offer financial assistance for Pet Care and Veterinary Fees.


The first time you make arrangements for your pet, it will seem taxing and complicated. But once you know the ropes it will be easy for you to be away whenever you need to be.



National Association of Professional Pet Sitters

Trustworthy care for your pet when you are away from home.


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Cody and Me

Ella Traver | ElderThink


Cody lives across the street from me with his humans, Sue and Mike. Cody is a senior doggie, a Golden Retreiver with soft eyes and a grey muzzle. I take care of him when his humans travel and since I work from home, I can fetch him if there is a thunderstorm. In return, Sue and Mike look after my place when I'm away. I think I have the better part of the bargain. I'm a senior too but I'm not ready for my own pet. Maybe when things slow down a bit for me. I'm only 70.

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Approaching A Scared Dog

Ella Traver | ElderThink


When a pup is scared, it's better to let him decide to come up to you. Turn your body and head to the side, even looking away while you talk to the dog. Be careful about staring directly at him. Stand back a little so you aren't directly over him. Speak softly and gently.


Instead of smiling, yawn. Trust me, it works.


When he is calm, make a fist and let the dog smell it. Then very slowly and gently touch his chest first with gentle pressure and then move your hand up and take his collar.


Soon that tail will wag.

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