This is a tough topic for me but it is something I think should be discussed:
My pet is getting old and its health is going downhill despite all my efforts to provide food, medicine and veterinary care. What are the effects of boarding my pet with health issues that are deteriorating? What happens when my pet passes while being boarded?
It is tough to have an elderly pet. I have 4 that are getting old and do not look forward to the time when their health starts to decline. Fortunately, at present they are healthy and still act much like puppies. However, that is not the case for some "pawrents".
As a boarding facility we have pets arrive for boarding taking various types of medications for various health issues. Of course, these issues are not of a contagious nature or we would not allow them to board. However, when boarding your pet under the best of circumstances, it is stressful regardless of their health status. Some pets board better than others usually because they are better socialized. Sometimes pets pass at an early age unexpectedly and for no 'apparent or visible' reason.
Having been in business for over nine years now, we are starting to see some of the pets we have boarded for so long reach their "golden" years and many have passed on. Some are just getting a little feeble and others are aging rapidly and reaching or exceeding the life expectancy for their breed. I have realized this year, that we, as a boarding facility, are going to have to start asking the tough question "What do you want us to do if your pet passes while in our care?" I wish I could tell you this has never happened here, but unfortunately I cannot. Believe me when I tell you that it affects us as much as it does the owners of these pets, because we, too, get attached to your pets. They are yours when at home, but when they are here, they belong to us and we care about them as much as you do.
"What are my options?", "Will you call me if something happens?" you ask.
If you can be reached, we will contact you as soon as possible. If you are unreachable, we will notify your emergency contact listed in our files. Be sure when you leave your pet in our care we have current "Emergency Contact" information and any contact information available for you if you are traveling internationally. If you do not want us to contact you prior to your arrival to pick up your pet, please let us know when you arrive with your pet for boarding.
For the smaller pets (20-25 lbs) we can preserve them and keep them for you to take home to bury, or if you wish, or we can take them to the Humane Shelter. The shelter charges for disposition of pets and the rates are available in our office. The larger pets must be handled immediately due to lack of appropriate preservation space. The shelter offers two types of cremation - Mass (no ashes returned) and Private (ashes returned to owner) and those prices are available in our office.
I know this is a tough topic for all of us. But, if your pet is elderly or has had health issues, please let us know your desires when your pet arrives for boarding. If we have no information on hand for disposition, we must use our best judgement in handling this situation. A form is available in our office for completion. Please ask for it so we do the "right" thing for you.