Editorial: April 15, 2022
In recurring conversations with a dear older friend, sometimes we find ourselves drifting into that uncomfortable topic of the care of her animals when she is no longer with us. We laugh and joke through what is a serious conversation. I promise to take them and have them live in my home for the rest of their lives. In spite of our differences of opinion, which can come to a boiling point, she knows in her heart the dogs would be well cared for and loved. The recent passings of longtime friends who have had very successful long-term breeding programs remind us that they may leave behind dogs ranging in age from new puppies and adults up those old geriatric pensioners. What becomes of these animals that rely on our care to survive? Sadly, our interest and devotion to these animals are not always shared by our heirs, and they might make hasty decisions to simplify their lives on our passing. So it becomes a question that needs to be answered while you are still able to make those decisions, and not leave it into the hands of those who don't know your wishes. While no one wants to think about a world without you, some housekeeping is in order. Make a list of all the dogs you alone own, dogs that are co-owned with a partner, and those that are co-owned with others. Then decide where you would want these dogs to live out the rest of their lives. Would they be incorporated with someone else’s breeding program? Would intact bitches be spayed and stud dogs castrated and given away to good homes as pets? What of your kennel name? Is it a registered name? Do you want someone else to inherit and continue to use it? Some fanciers don't know that you pay for that privilege, and when the renewal isn't made the name becomes public domain, as was the case with two very famous registered kennels whose registered names lapsed after the owners’ deaths. We were instrumental in helping get these two very well-known kennel names retired by the American Kennel Club, one in the Sporting group and one in the Terrier group. Parent clubs can request that kennel names be retired to respect and honor those who dedicated their lives to breeding and promoting their respective breeds. All of the above also applies to the cat sitting on your kitchen counter and that parrot you bought 20 years ago that still drops peanut shells all over the floor.
While you are digesting the realities of life and death and care of your living animals … one more decision has to be made: What of the frozen semen of your top stud dogs that you have paid to store year after year? To whom it is left to and what are the arrangements for storage payment? Some companies assume ownership of the semen if the account is delinquent, to be used at their discretion. Others simply destroy the collection. Something to investigate with your provider. Not a simple subject and sometimes no simple answers … but there is life after death.