Video: Pet trusts gaining in popularity
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
MANHATTAN -- It's the beginning of a new year and time to get your affairs in order, which usually means going over your will. However, what about your four-legged family members? A new type of after-care insurance is gaining in popularity and it's for your pets.
More than 95 million cats and 83 million dogs belong to pet owners in the United States, according to the American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey. Instead of a will for these pets, owners are turning to pet trusts. Trusts allow owners to provide special instructions about their pet's care after the owner has died. Some veterinary practices are also helping with long-term care plans.
"The Perpetual Pet Care Program is simply peace of mind for clients who have concern about what will happen with their pet or pets if something should happen to them and they don't have family members who are able to take care of those pets," said Roger Fingland, executive associate dean for Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the college's Veterinary Health Center.
The Veterinary Health Center gets call weekly about it's Perpetual Pet Care Program. Andrew Dame, development officer for the College of Veterinary Medicine, says enrolling your furry friend into the program ensures that a pet's medical care will be provided if the owner is no longer able to take care of the pet.
If something happens to the owner, the Veterinary Health Center tries to find the beloved pet a home with another animal lover.
"We first do a health check and we determine the health of the animal," Dame said. "Then we go through the file and determine exactly what the previous owner intended for that animal. Did he or she want a home with other dogs and cats? Did he or she prefer homes with children? Was that a dog that really related well to an older man? Then we scour through our list of vet med family and we always know who is looking for another animal or who would just be a perfect fit for that animal."
The Perpetual Pet Care Program was established in 1996 and more than 120 animals are currently enrolled.