Legalizing Guardianship and Making Sure your Pet Gets Home when Traveling!
Oh, how we dislike thinking about our own disasters or death, but it really is the smart thing to do. It’s also the kindest thing we can do for those who love us and would have to take care of things should something awful happen.
And all of this planning is especially important because the bipeds have a dependent: Me!
We know who my guardian is should the unthinkable happen. We talked to her. She thought long and hard about it. And accepted.
It was no small decision. There were many people who offered to be my guardian, but not everyone was a good fit. Why?
First of all we had to make sure there was a mutual love. And there are no worries there: I LOVE my guardian! I make siren noises of happiness when we go to visit!
We also wanted to make sure that my guardian would continue my care in the way I am accustomed to living – from what I eat (human food) to how I get my health care, and ensuring I get the type of attention and exercise I’m used to. My guardian is on the same page with all that!
Where things do get tricky is with this: what happens if something goes terribly wrong while we’re travelling and I’m stranded overseas? This is where a lot of people who might have been a good choice suddenly no longer were.
We needed a person who could jump to action and handle that kind of stress. A person who would always have an up-to-date passport. A person that has traveled. We needed a person who could and would make the time. We wanted a person we could trust to – absolutely, positively – rescue me.
And we found her. And she accepted. And we are so very, very grateful. This was a huge responsibility to ask of someone and we are very glad to have found a person not only willing to do this, but who will also do so with all the love and care in the world. I am a lucky boy! She is my sister-mom. And I feel blessed. (She says the honour is really hers, that the bipeds trust her so much. I guess that makes us even in feeling blessed!)
Because I travel, giving my guardian the necessary legal rights to take care of me is really, really important. Legal paperwork sucks, but this kind is essential.
This is what the papers cover:
- The papers name my guardian clearly and legally. They also include all the information about how to contact my guardian.
- The papers also state how to release funds to my guardian so she can fly to wherever in the world I may be to bring me home.
- The papers also clearly transfer ownership (or temporary guardianship if the bipeds are seriously injured) of me to my guardian so she can return with me to Canada and take me through Customs.
- And, the papers make arrangements for funds to be set aside out of the bipeds’ estate for my care for the rest of my life.
What we do to help my guardian:
- Before we travel, we give my guardian our detailed itinerary. We also give her the name of every hotel with phone number, address and email. If we are renting an apartment, we give our guardian the “landlord’s” contact information.
- We provide my guardian with copies of all the travel documents for the trip. She will need them to re-enter Canada. This includes the international health certificate.
- In addition, we give our guardian’s contact information (name and email) to the hotel or landlord in case they need to let my guardian know something has happened. If people spoke my language, I could give them this information myself. But, alas, my cuteness doesn’t make me more understandable and, in fact, puts me at great risk of being dog-napped or mistakenly taken as lost or stray.
- If we change our plans, we do all we can to send our guardian that information. It can be a quick text message, a FB message – anything – but we let her know where we are every single day. We tell her what airport we’re at; train, boat or plane we’re taking; and any town, city, village or island we are visiting … any information my guardian might need if she had to come and fetch me.
- We also carry my guardian’s information on us everywhere we go – in both English and translated into the local language if needed. The translation is really important: you can’t expect the locals to speak your language. Most people mean well and want to help, but you have to give them the ability to do so.
- We make sure that her name appears as “an owner” on the papers needed for me to return to Canada.
My microchip and ID:
My microchip does not have just my information on it; it also has my emergency contacts. And that includes my guardian’s name, email and phone number. My microchip also includes my insurance information which includes a reward for returning me to my owners or guardian.
This is a tricky bit of paperwork, but you can coordinate this between your vet and your pet insurance company to ensure the information is on file and accessible with the microchip number.
Here’s one more option: blanketID. Microchips are so very, very important but the problem with microchips is that you need a scanner to read the information and the average person on the street doesn’t have one (vets and animal shelters have them).
I discovered blanketID through my Brother from Another Mother (My guardian’s fur kid a.k.a. Jack). He has a microchip, but to make sure anyone can help, Jack has a tag from blanketID. Anyone can read the tag, which gives a website address and a unique number that connects to all of his important information on a profile page, including his microchip number, medical information and more. That means that anyone can help my guardian’s canine, not just a vet or animal shelter.
I admit, I have coveted Jacks blanketID for a long, long time. Especially since they have a Canadian Maple Leaf design!
The same company also offers custom made “lounge collars” – super comfortable, super light collars just for holding the blanketID tag. It’s like wearing your own cool bling! Mom says because they make one that’s small and light enough for even tiny (but mighty!) me, I can get one for my birthday! An international dog deserves some international identity bling after all! BUT to be honest the POD is the best travel option.
Because blanketID allows for a message to show when a person enters my number, we can make sure we have a message translated into any local language. And because you can update your profile anytime and anywhere (even everyday if we want), we can use it to show our address “du jour” when traveling. It really is a perfect fit. Watch the video and learn more!
Of course, even with all of this, nothing is certain. But it’s a start. It helps us feel safer and feel better prepared for the unthinkable. It takes the edge off and allows us to travel with a little more peace of mind.
What do you do you do to make sure you would get home when you travel? Share in the comments below.
Note: Updated from 2014 with new information.