Can I Put My Pets in My Will? – by Casey Walters

The announcement of lockdown Tuesday evening, meant another obstacle in the road of 13-month-old, American Staffy Crossbreed, Duke, and his opportunity for a second chance at life.

Casey Walters, our new family law solicitor who joined KW Legal in June this year, was concerned that the level 4 lockdown may preclude Duke from flying to his new foster home with a Rescue in Auckland.

Casey works four days a week here at KW Legal and volunteers as the Managing Trustee of a New Zealand registered charity and dog rescue, the New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue Trust (“NZCR”).

Casey founded the organisation in 2017 after learning of the complex issues many Chihuahuas (and other toy or small breeds) face when being rehomed. Many small breed dogs require behavioural assistance and have complex medical needs to rectify before they are fit to rehome (ie. Heart issues, joint or patella injuries and skin issues) Since beginning the rescue, NZCR have adopted out 100 Chihuahuas, crossbreeds and small breed dogs and assisted many community dogs with medical care and de-sexing.

Duke, of course, is far too big to be considered a Chihuahua! But after becoming aware of his plight and strict timeline, Casey was unable to turn Duke away. The owners of Duke were desperate (due to their own health issues) to find a rescue spot or new home for Duke. After searching for 6 months and consulting other rescues in Christchurch, Duke had one week to find a new placement, or regretfully, he would need to be euthanised.

Duke is outside of the scope of the New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue charity, but they made an exception for this one special boy! With much organisation (including needing to locate someone to fly with Duke from Christchurch to Auckland and a crate big enough) Duke was taken to the airport on 18th August 2021 and eventually, with much relief for all concerned, he was cleared to fly.

Duke was transported to another Rescue in Auckland that assists many bigger breed dogs. After pleas from NZCR, they had made the space to be able to assist Duke. While in their care, Duke will be vaccinated, micro-chipped, vet checked and undergo some training, before finding his new forever home!

Duke is a very lucky boy to have come so close to having his life cut short and encountered many obstacles along the way but is now safely enjoying a whole new adventure in the North Island!

To read more about Casey and Duke’s adventure and the issues raised for some of our New Zealand rescues during lockdown, please see:

*For more information on NZCR, including dogs in their care and/or an adoption form, please see:

Casey’s Dog Family

Is Your Pet in Your Will?

Here at KW Legal, we are animal lovers. Many of our clients will know this and have met some of our office pooches – Phoebe, Lily, Pepper and little Dottie!

Lockdown is a good time to reflect on your personal affairs and whether everything is in order, in particular your Will.

Your Will records your wishes in the event that you pass away and who is to receive any gifts or property left behind.

Can I Put My Pets in My Will?

Yes! If you have beloved pets, do not forget to include them in your Will. You can note down a friend, family member or even preferred charity that you would like to receive your pet(s) and take care of them, if you pass away.

It can be a very stressful decision for your family to make and you will also want to ensure that your pets go to a friend, family member, or organisation that you know and trust.

How Do I Begin?

If you are wanting to review your Will or create a new Will, please get in touch with KW Legal.  Alternatively, please download our Will Instructions from our Wills page on our website

Katherine, Kim, Casey and Viv are all still available during lockdown and would be happy to assist you!


*Please note: Casey does not consult with clients regarding the dogs in NZCR care, adoption, or any other NZCR-related matters during her general office hours. Any adoption or NZCR related correspondence is to be directed to the Rescue and will be dealt with by the NZCR team accordingly.

Note:  Katherine’s Blog is not a substitute for legal advice, please contact your lawyer.

Can I Put My Pets in My Will? – by Casey Walters