|My pets after my demise...
Feb 25, 2011
I'm not sure what category/forum this kind of question should be addressed to, but, it would seem that others may have faced this dilemma.
I've been living with HIV/AIDS since 1987, and am in pretty good shape. I've been concerned about what will happen to the cats I live with if something untoward should happen to me. I live alone and have a fairly solitary existence other than my interaction with people I see a part-time job I have. I have a life insurance policy I've had for years (before insurance companies started asking applicants about exposure to HIV). I've contacted a couple of organizations in the San Francisco area where I live about this, and have yet to get any response from them. It's worrying, and I want to do the best I can for my friends here while I still can. Any constructive advice you have will be appreciated.
| Response from Dr. Fawcett
The companionship and unconditional love of a pet can truly be a healing force, as you know. They are not only great company but can actually help reduce the stress of living with HIV. The Multicenter AIDS Cohort study found that there was less depression among almost 2000 pet owners with HIV than those without pets. This was especially true in cases such as yours where there was less social interaction. Having given us so much, it is important that they be cared for. This can be difficult, but there are possible solutions. I know one attorney who suggests finding a friend or relative who agrees to take responsibility for your pet(s) and then designating a dollar amount (for example, $5000) for their continued care in your will. Some national organizations, such as Best Friends (www.bestfriends.org), provide sanctuary for animals, although contributions (sometimes substantial) can be required. You might also check with your local Pets are Wonderful Support (www.pawssf.org) in San Francisco. Their primary mission is to help people keep their pets but they might provide advice.
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