GP living will?

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For Rocky

Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:25 pm

I'll be petsitting 2 pigs I had fostered while their people are out of the country for 3 weeks. I mentioned to the mom that I'd write up something for her to sign giving me authority to take the pigs to the vet and get reimbursed for vet bills. I said maybe we could also write up any limitations on what kind of treatment I would be authorized to pursue. I used the phrase "Guinea Pig Living Will", which maybe I shouldn't have said because she made sort of an "oh no" sound. But she did say that there would likely have to be some kind of a cap on medical expenses.

Has anyone ever written up anything like this when you were caring for someone else's pigs or leaving your pigs with someone? What did you write?

If the pigs are sick, I want to be able to take them to the vet and get them treatment. I don't know that I'd feel comfortable making decisions about more invasive or extensive procedures (like surgery) without consulting the family. But they'll be in a different continent and not necessarily easily reachable by phone or email.


Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:22 pm

Our pet sitter had a form like that for us to sign. It had questions like:

- If your pet becomes ill, do you want me to take him to the vet? Do I need to call you first? If not, how much can allow the bill to grow to without your permission?

- If your pet needs to be euthanized, do you want me to call you first?

- If your pet dies while you are away, do you want to know?

- If something happens to you while you are traveling, who do you want me to call to take care of your pet?

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For Rocky

Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:48 pm

Those are good questions. I was also wondering if one of the pigs dies while in my care, what would they like me to do with the body.

The pigs are young and healthy, so hopefully/likely none of this will be needed. But I don't want to count on that.

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one pig at a time.

Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:35 pm

I understand these people are going out of the country and therefore it makes sense to talk to them about important questions.

I personally would kind of freak out if the person that was going to care for my babies talked about what to do if one passes, or vet bills. My petsitter has a form that I initially filled out the first time she cared for my pets. It included their medical history, care and needs, phone numbers and vet name. I personally would want to be notified if anything was to happen to my furbabies while I am away. I would not want to "cap off" vet bills or give limitations to my petsitter. I would want to make my own decisions on their care if something was to happen. I more than likely would cut my vacations short if it was life threatning. My vet also knows my animals and my beliefs and so hopefully between the both of us we could make educated good decisions for my pets even though I am not physically there.

I understand having all the basis covered, but I think this is a bit extreme and I would have a funny feeling in my stomach if my caregiver talked about my pet dieing while I was away. Just my opinion.

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Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:59 pm

I would want to have that conversation with a petsitter even if its something I don't want to think about. If something happened and say the petsitter decided to euthanize when there could've been a surgery to save the animal, there's nothing you could do. The petsitter could say she didn't know or wasn't told what to do. I'd want to have it in writing that I make all medical decisions no matter what. So some random person doesn't make medical decisions for me.

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Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:02 pm

I don't even remember what I told Jenn when she watched Oreo and Klondike while we went cross country (had a sitter come to the house for the healthy kids, but those boys needed hand feeding and meds). I know we talked about it since they were doing so poorly and Klondike did pass while we were away. My heart just sunk knowing it happened on someone else's watch. He is buried next to Jenn's angel ladies.

I think I need to make a 'living will' too. Sigh.

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one pig at a time.

Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:15 pm

I'd want to have it in writing that I make all medical decisions no matter what.
I think this is the most important. I think everyone needs to have a discussion with their petsitter and their vet before ever leaving their animals. I always call my petsitter everyday while I am away and check in on everyone. I would not want to be out of the loop on their well-being, or have another person make lifechanging decisions for my pets.


Post   » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:22 pm

"I'd want to have it in writing that I make all medical decisions no matter what."

The one caveat to this is would be something like, what if, while you're walking a dog, the dog is attacked by another dog, and you have to decide immediately whether or not to put the dog through surgery or euthanize, but the owners are still on route to Italy and can't be reached for another six hours?

The odds of this sort of thing happening are really low, but I could see how this could come up.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:03 am

Actually, a form of TWP's scenerio did happen to me. Last April I was going to pig sit two little girls while the family was in Europe. Mom had already been there for two weeks and was unreachable in Spain. Her son brought the two little girls to me with heat stroke. He was ready to leave them for me to deal with but I told him he was not! I made him take them to the emergency vet where they both died.

I would get all kinds of arrangements in writing before hand.

BTW, I will NEVER, EVER pig sit for anyone else after this incident!


Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:14 am

Things like that need to be addressed because the petsitter needs some type of authority to do something. If the pet gets sick, they have to have something in writing that states they can treat it. Otherwise aren't they just committing animal abuse and letting it suffer?

If it happened to all animals with that petsitter than I would be a little worried. Death of the pet does need to talked about just to be sure and the petsitter cannot be held responsible for everything. Otherwise nobody would petsit because of the liability.

Who's your Branni?

Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:37 am

After we had a neighbor's hamster get out of his cage and somehow end up dead on the other side of the house, I *always* tell the sitters that if someone passes, do not try and replace them, just put them in the freezer until we return, or if its one of the dogs, the number for the neighbors with a back hoe.

They know the vet, the vet is alerted to us leaving town - but honestly if the kritter passes and the sitter finds them (they were not "sick" they just passed) I am way okay with waiting until we get home to find out.

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I dissent.

Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:07 am

Well, this is the Agreement I use when I guinea-pig sit:
Your Name:

Name(s) of Guinea Pig(s):

Drop Off Date:
Pick Up Date:


Emergency number where you can be reached:
Cell or Alternate Numbers:

Any health concerns, special needs, etc.:

For $5 a day per pig, I agree to:
 Board guinea pig(s)
 Feed them twice daily
 Clean their cage regularly
 Trim nails
 Check anal sacs and clean if needed
 Use due diligence to avoid illness, injury or escape, and seek veterinary care if deemed necessary

You agree to:
 Bring housing (cage)
 Provide a supply of pellets & hay
 Not hold liable for illness or injury, as long as reasonable care is given
 Notify your veterinarian that your guinea pig(s) will be in my care, and establish an account for any treatment required during that time
 Pay for boarding services at the time of pick-up

X___________________________ Date ______________

X___________________________ Date ______________

Thank you - I look forward to seeing your guinea pig(s) soon!


Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:13 am

Glad to see this thread, as it's something I've been pondering. We're going on vacation for two weeks, and the boys will be boarding for ten days of that. We will be, at times, unreachable (camping where cell phones don't work so well), so, in the event of an emergency, these decisions may be up to their caretaker.

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For Rocky

Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:05 pm

I certainly don't want to freak the family out. Maybe I won't ask the "what to do with the remains" question, especially when the daughter is with her mom. The pigs are the very first pets of the little girl (age 9). I don't want to send her off on her trip overseas thinking what could happen to her pigs. If (God forbid) something happens, I can always keep a body in my freezer until they get home and want to decide. That's what my mom did when my last childhood guinea pig died while I was on vacation. Mom decided not to tell me unless I asked about the pig when I called home. For whatever reason I didn't ask about Elizabeth (bad, horrible piggy slave that I was back then), so I didn't find out until I got home. Her remains stayed in the freezer, which I refused to open, for another 2 months until I was ready to deal and say goodbye.

I do want an understanding of what this family would prefer regarding vet care and health decisions. The pigs in question are 2 healthy, young females and I don't foresee any problems (*furiously knocks wood*). The family has only had them for about 4 months and I don't think they've had lengthy interactions with their vet yet. Hell, I have had lengthy interactions with my vets but I don't think they would be able to guess my wishes for my pets.

P.S. to Sef - you're cheap! I'm charging $12 per day for boarding the 2 pigs, although I am providing hay, pellets, and veggies. And I guess if you charge $5 per day per pig, then $12 per day for 2 pigs isn't such a difference in price.

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I dissent.

Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:40 pm

Right -- I ask that they provide their own hay and pellets; I supply the veggies. I think $12 is more than reasonable if you're using all of your own stuff.

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Post   » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:45 pm

I would feel uncomfortable if a petsitter went into great detail about remains, and had more specifics about the pig getting sick than day to day care. It would make me wonder if they've had to deal with piggies passing and getting sick under their care before and so incorporated it into their contract. I agree it's good to cover the bases but I think in some forms it could be off putting.

eta: not to say that's what you're doing Brimstone! Just thinking about hypothetical petsitters based on what we're talking about.

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