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What would happen to your pet if you were incapacitated or died?

According to a recent report by the BMO Retirement Institute, 61% of Americans own a pet. Of these pet ‘owners”, 87% consider pets to be a “family member”, and 77% feel it’s important to make arrangements for their ongoing care in the event that their pet outlives them.  But surveys show that only one-third of pet owners have actually made some kind of estate planning provision for them.

Emerging needs in the marketplace provide opportunities for insightful people to create services and provide resources to meet those needs:

Ella Schutt created Palm Meow Inc, in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. A long time cat owner and experienced social services agency executive, she saw an opportunity for a rewarding second career by expanding the concept of cat boarding to cat retirement centers. She helps owners plan for the lifelong care of their pets as part of their personal estate planning process, and helps their cats adapt to retirement center living.

Dr. Henry Presnal. (Photo courtesy of Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University.)

Veterinarian Henry Presnal runs the Stevenson Companion Animal Life Care Center as a joint project with Texas A&M University.  The Stevenson Center, which provides a home setting for dogs, cats, parrots, horses and a llama named Rusty, is funded by pet owners who set up endowments to insure the long term care of their animals. Additional funding by university benefactors provides opportunities for providing the next generation of veterinarians the opportunities to learn to treat animals by maintaining their wellness as well as diagnosing and treating medical issues.