Just one of the articles from Pet Care Pro Quarterly, IBPSA’s digital magazine for pet care services professionals. Read the current issue online here.
by Carmen Rustenbeck , Founder and Executor Director, IBPSA
Part of the IBPSA team recently had the privilege of visiting with one of our member facilities, Pal’s Inn Pet Resort, LLC, in Fountain Hills, Arizona. As a point of interest, Fountain Hills lays claim to one of the tallest fountains in the world. While a plume of water rising 560 feet into the sky is undeniably impressive, it was the impressive work being done by Pal’s Inn that lured us to this beautiful community just outside of Phoenix.
Earlier this year, IBPSA presented an educational webinar for our members on “Estate Planning for People and Their Pets” which prompted one of the Pal’s Inn owners, Rose Sampieri, to reach out to IBPSA to share what they are doing to help pet owners make plans for their pet’s long-term care. Because we love the opportunity to visit with our members and see up close and personal what they’re accomplishing, we soon hit the road for Fountain Hills.
As we approached Pal’s Inn we knew we were in for something special. With smart, area-appropriate landscaping and a rich rose-hued exterior evocative of a classic Southwest style, you could immediately see the care that Rose, her husband Bob, and their business partner Don Leitzen have committed to the facility. As Rose and Bob treated us to a grand tour of the 12,000 square feet facility, we had the opportunity to see their team in action, including Tracy Rothstein , their Director of Operations, who is also a certified “pet chaplain.”
Over the past dozen years, the resort has become an integral part of the Fountain Hills community, allowing local students to fulfill their community services before graduation, and successfully incorporating a pet rescue and adoption center. The thoughtfulness that defines Pal’s Inn was taken to the next level last year when their programs to help pet owners make plans for the long-term care of their pets made their public debut.
The Pal’s Inn “legacy”
Envisioning a time when we won’t be around is not something many of us want to think about. But most of us in the pet care services industry are all too familiar with pet rescue pleas for a now homeless animal whose owner has passed away. The responsible thing to do for pets is to plan for the inevitable, whenever that may be. Pal’s Inn and their “Celebrity Legacy Pet Care” programs makes the planning easy on the owner with two options.
For the long-term care program, Celebrity Legacy Pet Care I, Pal’s Inn assumes care and life time expenses until the animal passes. In a nutshell, the fee for this program is based on pet breed, age, and any medical issues. The shorter and typically less expensive program, Celebrity Legacy Pet Care II, provides care for as long as it takes to find a “forever” home that exactly fulfills the wishes of the owner. Wishes for an ideal new home might be, for example, a family with (or without) children, an older person, a large home, or, perhaps, a ranch. No matter which program the owner selects, the resort promises that all “legacy” pets will be socialized, groomed, medically supported, given one-on-one playtime, daily walks, and “will be cherished by the staff at Pal’s Inn.”
Costs for the pet owner to participate in either of the programs are determined by information provided in a worksheet about the pet (or pets). Based on that information, an estimated cost analysis and agreement is presented. If the pet owner signs the agreement, a non-refundable payment is required. This agreement becomes part of the will and estate process and, should the pet owner become incapable of caring for their pet, they can release the pet at any time to Pal’s Inn under the agreement.
Are you ready to establish your “legacy”?
The potential for offering your clients this type of long-term care for their pets is enticing, isn’t it? But, be aware that the program is not for every facility. Rose and Bob believe that this program functions best in a resort-type facility, and they suggest the following assessments be considered before attempting to add a similar program your business:
Preparing for the evolving definition of pet “owner”
IBPSA is committed to helping our members help their clients and, as virtually every pet care industry report confirms, pet owners increasingly see themselves as pet “parents” – not just owners. As such, they are increasingly committed to the responsibility of treating their pets as members of the family who must be considered and cared for long-term. Thank you to Pal’s Inn for seeing a need and providing a valuable service in a smart and professional manner. Pal’s Inn offers their Celebrity Legacy Pet Care programs to any pet owner whether they live in Fountain Hills or anywhere else in the nation. To learn more about Pal’s Inn and their Celebrity Legacy Pet Care, look for the “Legacy Program” tab at palsinnpetresort.com.
Please note that IBPSA also plans to touch on this long term care topic again for a future free monthly member webinar. If you missed the “Estate Planning for People and Their Pets” webinar earlier this year, IBPSA Members can access it now through their IBPSA Member dashboard. Click the “Video Library” tab and look under “Customer Service.”
Are you providing a unique service in your area? IBPSA would love to hear from you! Contact us at email@example.com.