Legacy Care

Legacy Care at Paws4ever provides a loving home for dogs and cats when their owners are no longer able to provide care. Pets will live either in a foster home or in the Legacy Care Residence on the Paws4ever property until the right adoptive family can be found. They’ll receive nutrition, exercise, affection and veterinary care.


Legacy Care FAQs

What is Legacy Care?

Legacy Care is a program that works like an insurance policy to provide loving, individualized care to pets whose people can no longer do so. Enrollment in Legacy Care involves naming Paws4ever as the legal guardian of an animal in the event that their human passes away or otherwise becomes incapacitated, with the provision of funds and information to care for that animal. Legacy Care was designed to give peace of mind to pet owners in our community by giving them an option to plan ahead for their animals’ care should the need arise. 

How much does Legacy Care cost?

An enrollment fee of $1,000 per pet is due upon acceptance into the program. A minimum admission fee of $15,000 per pet is due when Paws4ever takes over the care of the pet. Discounts are available for pets adopted from Paws4ever or for fees paid at time of enrollment, as outlined below. Fees are subject to increase over time. These funds may be designated through a provision in your Will or Trust or a life insurance policy or certificate of deposit with Paws4ever as the named beneficiary. 

Enrollment Fee (Per Pet): $1000

Admission Fee Options (Per Pet)  Adopted from Paws4ever All other pets
Paid at time of admission $10,000 $15,000
Paid in advance (at enrollment) $8,500 $12,750


If I can’t afford Legacy Care and cannot care for my pet, are there other options?

We understand that giving up a pet is a heart-wrenching decision. We know you want what is best for your pet and we want that too. To save more animals’ lives and keep pets out of shelters, we encourage you to first try to rehome your pet yourself before surrendering to a shelter or a rescue. You know your pet better than anyone else and are best suited for finding your pet a home that fits all of his/her needs. And shelters, despite all their efforts, are still stressful places for animals, which can lead to anxiety, aggression, and illness. You are your pet’s best option for finding him or her a new home, and we are here to help guide you through this process. 

Please see our Rehoming and Help page for detailed information on how to rehome your pet and how you can list your pet for adoption on our Community Pets for Adoption page.

What if my pet ends up costing Paws4ever more than I paid?

That is okay; we have prepared for that. The admission fee is an estimate based on the average cost of care over three years, but we realize of course that some animals may cost considerably more or less than this amount. Veterinary care in particular can be very costly and often unexpected. For this reason, we may discuss additional funding if your animal has a known higher cost, such as an expensive medication, or some members prefer to provide a higher amount for increased peace of mind. By having a flat fee, the leftover funds from some animals should be able to cover the extra expense of others.

What if my pet ends up costing Paws4ever less than I paid? Can I/my beneficiary receive a refund?

See above. We have structured our funding requirements in order to ensure we can provide lifetime care for each animal in our program. If your animal does not end up costing the full amount of their admission fee, any remaining funds will go towards the care of other animals in the Legacy Care Program. Therefore, all fees are nonrefundable. 

Where will my pet live once admitted into Legacy Care?

Your pet will live in a home with a foster caregiver who has been trained in how to provide  individualized care or in our Legacy Care Residence located on the beautiful 50-acre Paws4ever sanctuary, until they are matched with an adoptive home. At no time will your pet be in an animal shelter environment.

What is the process for getting a pet into Legacy Care?

Step One: Application-Pet owner and pet’s veterinarian submit all application forms to Paws4ever

Step Two: Enrollment-After reviewing your application, if we believe your pet is a good fit for our program, we’ll contact you to arrange a meeting. During this meeting, we’ll enjoy spending time with your furry friend and will finalize your enrollment into the program, which includes completing forms signed by both parties and accepting any due fees. 

Step Three: Admission-Admission fee is transferred to Paws4ever (if not already prepaid), then Paws4ever physically takes possession of and responsibility for the pet(s) and begins providing care. 

What is the difference between enrollment and admission?

Enrollment reserves a slot in our program for a pet in case it is needed at any point in the future. Admission actually transfers the pet into Paws4ever’s care. The enrollment fee is due at the time of enrollment, whereas the admission fee is only required if and when the animal(s) comes to us for care, with the option to prepay if preferred. 

What are the criteria for accepting an animal into Legacy Care?

Acceptance into the program is dependent on our current availability of space and resources, as well as the medical and behavioral health of the animal(s) in question.We want to ensure that we can provide all of the personalized care and attention every animal deserves. For this reason, we will not accept an animal into the program if we do not feel confident in our ability to safely care for them and their individual needs. 

What if I need someone to care for my pet immediately?

The above process can be expedited when an animal is in need of immediate care. Paws4ever staff can begin the review of all application forms once submitted, and if approved move immediately from enrollment to admission. 

Do I need to apply to Legacy Care or can I simply include Paws4ever in my Will?

You must complete an application for every pet to be considered for the Legacy Care program. By enrolling in the program in advance, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that your pets are guaranteed care when needed, and by enrolling now you’ll lock in the admission fee, which may otherwise increase over time. Including Paws4ever in your will without applying and being accepted into the Legacy Care program will not guarantee care for your pet. 

What if I’ve included a provision in my Will for Legacy Care but I become incapacitated and need care for my pet before I pass away?

We recommend that you grant authority to your Power of Attorney to admit your pet on your behalf if you become incapacitated. We can provide sample language to help guide you upon request. 

If the admission fee increases after I enroll, will I be expected to pay the increased amount?

No. The admission fee specified at the time of enrollment is the amount due upon admittance. By joining now, you lock in the current admission rate.

If my pet dies, can I transfer the admission fee to another pet? Will I be required to pay another enrollment fee?

Enrollment is transferable to another pet at no further cost, provided that pet meets the standards of acceptance into the program. The enrollment fee and admission fee (either pre-paid or the established amount at the time of enrollment) for a deceased pet can be used towards a new pet. Each pet must apply and be accepted into the program individually.




What if the adoptive family is not a good match or later becomes unable to keep the animal?

If for some reason the adoptive family cannot care for them, that animal can come back and re-enter Legacy Care. Paws4ever makes a lifetime commitment to our animals.  

What makes Legacy Care different from the Paws4ever Adoption Center?

Legacy Care is a planned enrollment program – allowing you to make plans for your pets far in advance of when you may need them. In addition, Legacy Care animals always live in a home-like environment, either in our Legacy Care Residence or in a foster caregiver’s home. At no time will Legacy Care animals live in our Adoption Center, which is a shelter environment.

I’m interested in joining the Legacy Care program. How do I learn more?

We know how important it is to you to ensure care for your furry family members, and are happy to help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming process. To speak with someone about Legacy Care, please contact us at legacy@paws4ever.org or (919) 241.8438 x117. 

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