10 People Whose Dogs Inherited a Fortune

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Former Mozambican President Samora Machel once said, “The rich man’s dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built.” But it’s not just rich folk — every dog lover takes grand care of their pet. After all, dogs are man’s best and most loyal friends, aren’t they? Their unselfish loyalty and love certainly deserve a round of applause.

Apparently though, some people find mere applause insufficient to truly prove their love and gratitude towards their canine friends. So they went ahead to include their poochies in their will, oftentimes at the expense of their pesky human family members.

10. Gail Posner

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Gail Posner was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Being the daughter of the famous American businessman and philanthropist Victor Posner, she never had to worry about money.

Her pet Conchita, a cute little Chihuahua, was always the center of her attraction. She had never hesitated to spoil her pet with luxurious tokens of love, like a $15,000 Cartier necklace or a gold Cadillac. The blessed animal, who had its own bedroom and bath room, was pampered with weekly spa treatments, and used to proudly accompany the mistress on her lunch dates. When Gail died at an age of 67, she surprised her own son by leaving a $3 million trust fund and an $8.3 million beach-front mansion in Miami in the name of her favorite dog. Favorite son though? Eh.

9. Leona Helmsley

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Leona Helmsley was an American businesswoman famously known as “the Queen of Mean” because of her hair-trigger temper. She was the owner of the Helmsley hotel chains, and by the eighties was a well-known household name.

Though the world remembers her as a woman with a volatile temper who was involved in massive income tax fraud, she was an adoring mistress to her lapdog, naturally named “Trouble.” When Leona died at the age of 87, she excluded a bunch of her relatives, including two of her own grandchildren, from her will. She did now, however, forgot her lap companion. In her will, she left Trouble a cool $12 million.

This rare generosity exhibited by an otherwise-mean woman made Trouble the most hated dog in the whole world for a spell. The poor dog is said to have received quite a few death threats over her life, because clearly dogs can read. A court intervention later cut Trouble’s bequeathed grant from $12 to 2 million. This generous sum was still more than enough to pay for the dog’s luxurious maintenance for the next 10 years, covering the annual $100,000 for full-time security, $8,000 for grooming, and $1,200 for food. Trouble’s trainer was paid a handsome $60,000 salary. Trouble, who is said to have lived up to her mistress’s reputation by exhibiting exotic biting skills, died in 2010 at the ripe old age of 12.

8. Nora Hardwell

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Nora Hardwell, a reclusive spinster, lived all alone with her only companions being her two dogs, Tina and Kate. She couldn’t bear the thought of her dogs being left stranded after her death, so this loving mistress wrote a will in which she left a trust of $1 million, and clearly stated that it was “for the maintenance of any dog or dogs which I may own at my death for the period of 21 years from the date of my death or until the death of the last of my dogs, if earlier.”

After her death, her beloved companions continued to stay in the home with four acres of lawn, and had a fat million to take care of their needs. Nora ensured that her canine friends never missed on anything after her death, except for the loving touch of their mistress.

7. Sidney Altman

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Generic dog pic, as no shots of Samantha exist. You’d think a super-rich bathroom guru could afford a damn camera.

Sidney Altman, a sharp businessman, had made quite a fortune by selling bathroom fixtures. He had a long term relationship with his girlfriend Marie Dana and, when he died at the age of 60, it was expected that he would leave most of his fortune to her. But events took an unexpected twist when the will revealed that his $6 million estate was left to “Samantha.” The good news was that Samantha wasn’t some young, sexy mistress who Altman’s had secretly been schmoozing. The bad news, however, was that Samantha was a cocker spaniel, Altman’s first and true love. The dog was left a massive sum of $350,000 and a posh house in Beverly Hills.

Dana, on the other hand, was allotted an annual stipend of just $60,000, and only if she took care of the dog. The infuriated girlfriend has since sued Altman’s estate, stating that she, being the human lover of the deceased, deserved to be treated better than a dog.

6. Lee Alexander McQueen

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Lee Alexander McQueen, a British fashion designer, committed suicide when he was 42. On his suicide note, he had scribbled the words, “Look after my dogs.” His display of affection, however, was not restricted to mere words. McQueen’s $26 million will left each of his three beloved English bull terriers — Juice, Minter and Callum — a generous sum of $82,000 each “for [their]upkeep and maintenance … so long as [they]shall live.” His love for animals also showed elsewhere, as he left $165,000 to both the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity.

5. Majel Barrett Roddenberry

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Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, left a handsome trust of $4 million to her pet dogs in her will. These dogs were additionally given the right to live in one of her luxurious mansions until they died. The concerned owner was not content however, until she made sure that her will allotted another $1 million to any loyal employee who chose to live with and care for the pets.

4. Eleanor Ritchey

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Eleanor Ritchey was the heiress of the Quaker State Refining Corporation, so it goes without saying that she was filthy rich. Young Eleanor was a quiet girl with very little or no social interest. The only person she was close to was her mother, and when she died in early 1960, Eleanor was left devastated. To soothe her emotional wounds, she turned to dogs for companionship.

She didn’t just buy dogs, but rather rescued stray dogs from the streets. And she didn’t settle on two or three pups — by the time she died, she had 150 dogs in her shelter. The woman did not let her death render her canine friends homeless yet again. She left a trust (possibly over $12 million) to take care of her dogs. After the last of her companions died, the remaining amount from the trust went to the Auburn University Research Fund for research into animal diseases.

3. Karlotta Liebenstein

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Karlotta Liebenstein was a German countess who was immensely fond of her pet, a fine German shepherd dog named Gunther III. Apparently, the countess couldn’t even think of leaving her favorite pet off her will. She left her star canine a tidy sum of $80 million, and did not include a clause like “until he dies.” This has resulted in Gunther IV, the lucky offspring of Gunther III, inheriting the fortune from its father.

The caretakers and trust managers of the dog turned out to be quite smart and, instead of wasting away the inheritance, did some smart investments. Today, Gunther IV’s properties are worth at least $372 million. The dog is currently the proud owner of a number of villas and mansions, including ones acquired from pop superstar Madonna. The dog is living a luxurious, pampered life with a personal maid, a chauffeur-driven limousine, and a custom-built swimming pool, all thanks to his father’s bighearted owner.

2. Anne E. Dier

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Generic dog pic, as any pictures of the real Fannie have been lost to space and time.

Anne E. Dier loved and trusted her pet, a dog named Fannie, more than anything in the world. This was not terribly surprising because her own husband, who was supposed to be the rock and pillar of her life, had turned against her. The woman found solace and much-needed companionship in her dog instead.

In the year 1909, the unfortunate woman was shot to death by her husband. However, the wistful thinking of Annie made sure that her Fannie was not left on the streets after her death. She left her $25,000 estate in the name of a couple in Buffalo, provided they cared for Fannie and spent much of the money on her. Fannie definitely must have missed her mistress, but was thankfully left in good care.

1. Diana Myburgh

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Brewery baroness Diana Myburgh was very fond of dogs. She already had a pet dog, Jason, when she decided to bring home another homeless dog, Jasper. She hardly had time to pamper her new-found companion though, as she died within a few weeks of bringing him home.

However, the concerned mistress had already secured the future of her four-legged friends. She had willed them 25,000 pounds each, to make sure they never lived a life of misery. Jasper ended up collecting Jason’s share of 25,000 pounds upon his death, thereby doubling its inheritance. In addition to this mammoth sum, the dog was allowed to stay in the Baroness’s mansion, and Mrs. Myburgh had made sure that her son-in-law, Sir Benjamin Slade, was left in charge of managing Jasper’s money. Slade invested the fortune in the stock market, and is said to have tripled the dog’s fortune.


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2 Comments

  1. I was surprised to see Majel Barrett Roddenberry on this list. She must have went “off the deep end” after the demise of Star Trek. The others that I have heard about were nut cases pure and simple.

    • Rachel Robles on

      Because they loved their pets and wanted to make sure they were provided for after their death? Yeah, what morons.

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