Woman Dog BeachLast year, Sally Harper’s grandmother was hospitalized and she became responsible for the care of her West Highland Terrier, Chelsea. As a writer for a small senior care site, Sally felt it important to cover this topic and was kind enough to share it with the Especially for Pets’ community. We hope this information is helpful for you and/or your loved ones.

 We all know how life-affirming pet ownership can be, particularly in our later years, but if we have to pay a visit to the hospital, the problem of who will take care of our beloved cat or dog can be a real worry. While a cattery or kennel is always an option, this is not always an ideal solution if you are unsure how long you are likely to be out of action.

Never fear, there are plenty of other possibilities and here we take a look at the options so that you can be sure your beloved pet is in good hands while you focus on recovering and getting back home as quickly as possible.

Ask the Neighbors
You might be reluctant to seem like a nuisance or a burden, but most neighbors would be happy to help. After all, imagine if it was the other way round, you would probably say “yes” without thinking twice! You will also have the comfort of knowing that someone is keeping an eye on your house, and can take in your mail at the same time.

Pet Sitters
A professional pet sitter will be pleased to visit your home as often as you need, to feed, care for and exercise your pet. As these are generally independent self-employed individuals, they will usually offer flexibility and be willing to care for your pet as long as necessary. Make sure you get recommendations, check their customer feedback and ask to see their insurance, just to be on the safe side.

Hospital Foster Program
PACT is an animal welfare organization that provides a hospital foster program aimed exactly at this eventuality. They find families who will take good care of your pet while you are in the hospital, and in the event that you are unable to return home, will even come up with something more permanent.

A Variety of Options
You might even consider a combination of the above options. For example, your neighbor might be happy to take care of your pet for a few days, but if it goes on longer, or they themselves are away for a day or two, have a pet sitter on hand as backup. And make contact with PACT to give yourself the reassurance that if you are unable to return home as planned, your pet will still be okay.

Knowing your pet is well taken care of, you can relax and focus on a full recovery and look forward to an emotional reunion when you return home!