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Leave it all to the dogs! Our favourite pet deathwishes

Want to make sure Fido is well fed & walked when you die? Maybe take some inspiration from these four legged inheritees.

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Dale Draycott

December 8, 2020

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Leaving money for a pet.

Since introducing deathwishes to the world, we’ve seen over a whopping 120,000 created to date! Some are thoughtful, caring and emotionally charged, some are weird and wonderful, some are incredibly imaginative and some are just plain crazy. We welcome them all.

One trend we’ve noticed is a growing number of deathwishes which are related to beloved pets. I thought it might be interesting to show you some later, but firstly let’s look at some of the most famous legacies, last will and testaments left by some animal obsessed peeps.

I knew you were Trouble

Hotelier and so called ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley left $12m to her Maltese pup Trouble when she died in 2007. That’s $12m more than she left two of her grandchildren, who were not surprisingly, pretty pissed off!
They contested the will in court and the judge ruled to cut Trouble’s inheritance down to $2m, awarding $6m between the disinherited grandchildren, the rest going to a charitable trust.

Trouble became both wanted and hated, obliviously receiving numerous death and kidnapping threats (resulting in a personal bodyguard being employed) for the four years that she outlived her owner, passing in 2011.

Rumour has it, against the law, the two were secretly re-united in a privately owned mausoleum.

Sounds like an episode from the Kar-dachshunds

In 2010, socialite Gail Posner, left her mansion (later sold for $8.4m) and $3m in a trust fund for her pooch Conchita and her canine sisters Lucia and April Marie.

Each dog had their own room in the mansion and travelled to the pet-spa every week in a gold Cadillac. It’s worth noting that $27m was left to her house staff, under the understanding that they would continue to look after the spoilt pups. A move which led to legal action by her son (who only received $1m), contesting the will, claiming conspiracy.

Apparently Conchita loves shopping, ‘wears a diamond collar from Tiffanys and likes to sleep in a cashmere sweater.’ Sounds like a diva to me.

Clucking Hell!

Miles Blackwell and his wife were well known for their caring of animals after setting up the Tubney Charitable Trust in 1997. Sadly in 2002 the couple died, just weeks apart. Miles, a publishing tycoon, who died shortly after his wife, had already laid plans to leave £10m to his favourite pet, his hen Gigoo. I imagine she lived an egg-tremely lavish lifestyle.

Puss in Loots

Ben Rea, a reclusive millionaire antiques dealer, decided to ignore his family in his will, instead opting to give almost his entire estate to Blackie, his remaining feline companion from a group of 15. £7m went to the lucky mog, and most of the remaining estate was split between 3 cat charities, with the instruction to care for his beloved kitty.

Meow Bella

After being rescued off the Italian streets at the age of 4, Tommasino the moggy, a former stray, was left $13m (partly cash and also 3 properties) by its owner Maria Assunta, a childless widow of a Italian real estate investor. When Maria’s health began to deteriorate, she began a search to find someone or an organisation to look after her feline friend. After the search became fruitless, she decided instead to transfer all the funds to the new-minted meowionaire after her passing in 2011.

Barking Mad

Californian prune rancher Tom Shewbridge left 29,000 shares in a local electric company to his two dogs Mac and George in 1958. The dogs regularly attended stockholders and board of directors meetings for years after his death and were obviously seen as important steakholders.

All the lonely doggies

Eleanor Ritchey, heiress to the Quaker State Oil Company, left her $4.5m fortune to her 150 dogs, who she adopted as abandoned pooches, when she died in 1968.

The will was contested, and in 1973 the dogs received an inflated $9m. By the time the estate was finally settled, its value had jumped to $14m but only 73 of the dogs were still alive. When the last dog died in 1984, the remainder of the estate went to the Auburn University Research Foundation for research into canine disease.

A different kinda cat house

Animal lover Jonathan Jackson died around 1880. In his will, he stated that “It is man’s duty as lord of animals to watch over and protect the lesser and feebler.”

His further instruction was to leave money for the creation of a cat house. A place where the cats could enjoy human comforts such as bedrooms, a dining hall, an exercise room, an auditorium to listen to live accordion music (do cats like accordion music?) and a roof designed for climbing without risking any of their nine lives.

Every dog has its day!

Dorothea Edwards, having died at the age of 80, left instructions with her family that her pacemaker be donated to an animal. Although legally in the US, a pacemaker cannot be transferred from person to person, there is no law that can stop the transfer to an animal that has a cardiovascular system.

So who would the lucky beneficiary be? The answer is; Sunshine, a 9½-year-old German Shepherd mix who had had a pretty woof time of it.

Sunshine was adopted by neighbours Cindy and John Wren when the dog’s home was raided by SWAT and the occupants were arrested for running a drug and prostitution ring. Her owner turned out to be Number 2 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List!

After that, the Wrens tried to rehabilitate the dog, both physically and mentally. But in 1998, Sunshine had lost her way, lost her appetite and began fainting often. Medical examinations revealed that she had a congenital heart defect and required a pacemaker to be surgically implanted.

After several unsuccessful procedures, Dorothea’s life saving legacy (a brand new, state-of-the-art pacemaker) was attached to Sunshine’s heart, the surgery a complete success.

What a beautiful story! Wonder when the film will come out?!

Material boy

In 1991, German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein left $80m to her canine companion Gunther III, on his passing the fortune went to his son, imaginatively named Gunther IV. His caretakers invested the dogs funds in various things over the years, ballooning the $80m to a barking $372m!

Named the richest pet in the world by Guinness World Records, Gunther IV has his own personal maid, eats caviar daily and owns mansions around the world.

He was listed as the buyer of Madonna’s Miami mansion in 2000. The sale was part of a publicity stunt involving a mystery buyer group called Gunther Corp and was bought for Gunther to share with a ‘multimedia’ musical group called The Burgundians.

Nope, never heard of them either. Something smells a little fishy here.

Got the purr-fect idea for your own animal inspired deathwish?

At DeadHappy, we have hundreds of thousands of deathwishes made by our customers. And while most of us haven’t got the millions to leave to our pets, maybe this has inspired you to think about ‘who’s going to look after my adored pooch, moggy, pig, hamster, snake, tarantula, goldfish or tortoise when I’m gone?’ (because let’s face it, they’ll outlive all of us).

Well, we’ve got your covered there as there’s a deathwish for that.