Life Emergency Considerations for the Care of Your Cocker

Providing for Your Cocker’s Future Without You

Almost everyone experiences the loss of a beloved Cocker Spaniel or other pet at some point in their lives.  As a Cocker Spaniel owner and/or breeder,  you may be prepared to lose your Cocker before they lose you. But what would happen if that is not the case?   Whatever stage you’re at in life it’s important to put steps in place to safeguard your Cockers’ well-being if you were no longer here to care for them due to illness or death.  None of us want to think about this stress, but, hopefully, it will give you peace of mind to know that your Cockers will be well cared for until the end of their natural lives, even if you can’t be there to see it.    As a responsible Cocker owner and/or breeder, there are multiple considerations you can take to make sure your Cockers are cared for in such life-crisis situations.

Our experiences in the rescue of Cockers in such a life crisis prompted us to offer some reminders to Cocker Fanciers on being prepared.   Below, we’ve listed a few suggestions on how to get started thinking about this.   Although more information can be found on the internet, we strongly suggest you talk with legal and financial experts about the best way to proceed in your specific situation.

Identify at least one (and ideally two or three) reliable friends or family members who could take care of your Cockers for a few days if you are suddenly ill or should pass away. These aren’t necessarily people who will permanently adopt them.  Instead, they’ll care for them until they go to new permanent homes. 

While you’re planning for your Cockers care when you are very ill or pass on,  you can encourage your friends to do the same. Planning together can make it easier to broach the subject and ask a friend to act as a temporary caregiver for your Cockers. You can offer the same support in return. 

As soon as you know who your emergency caregivers are, create an alert card that fits in your wallet. If something happens to you, anyone looking in your wallet will see the card and know who to call.    Additionally, you can post the same card on your refrigerator or in another prominent place in your home. 

If you have a friend or family member who you trust implicitly with the care of your Cockers, you’re in luck. This person might be the same as your emergency caregiver, who takes care of your Cockers immediately after your death or sudden illness. They might be a different person entirely—for example one who lives too far away to act as an emergency caregiver. If you don’t have a perfect candidate to adopt your Cockers permanently, you can instruct your temporary caregiver to place your Cockers with new owners.   Given you may have champion Cockers of breeding age, be sure to think about this carefully. 

You can make a verbal—and even written—agreement with your friends and family that you’ll care for each other’s Cockers and other pets if any of you gets seriously ill.  But if you pass away, nothing is set in stone unless it’s listed in a will.   When you create a will, you’ll assign an executor—the person who makes sure all of your instructions are followed. Make sure you trust your executor to act in your best interest and the best interest of your Cockers.   Consult experts in this area on how to specifically proceed.

A trust is different from a will in that it can go into effect immediately—providing care for your pet as soon as you’re unable to either due to illness or death. Creating a trust separate from your will has the benefit of assigning specific funds to the care of your pet. It also ensures that those funds are spent only by the trustee, and only on the care of your pets.   Again, we suggest you consult with legal and financial experts on specifics.

Another step you can take in ensuring your Cockers’ welfare if you die is authorizing a power of attorney. This Power grants someone the authority to conduct your affairs if and when you’re unable to.    As for many of these suggestions, consult with legal and financial experts on specifics.