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Check out my AD in South Shore Living Magazine, I’m on page 73 opposite the Peppermint Martini Recipe, in the Nov/Dec issue! The magazine also has an awesome Holiday Calendar of events that covers November and December!
September was a busy month, and I received a huge honor by serving with the CATalyst Council’s president Jane Brunt at the CATalyst Council booth during the 2011 World Feline Veterinary Conference, in Boston at the Marriott Copley Place.The focus of the conference this year was Cardiovascular Disease in cats. Jane Brunt is one of of those sharp ladies in the industry who is not only a successful feline veterinarian with her own practice, but she is also the President of The CATalyst Council. She’s a mover and a shaker for cats -a women I look up to.
In early spring I contacted her to introduce myself, share a press kit about my career with the hope of someday working for her or doing something to help cats with the organization in the future. When she needed assistance that weekend in Boston, she personally called me early in the week to ask if I was available! I was so excited and honored to meet her in person, and to represent the organization at this event.
The CATalyst Council is a an wonderful organization, that is feline focused on changing the perception of cat care and welfare by offering campaigns to educate industry professionals, and cat parents to raise the level of care for cats and much more.
During the weekend I represented CATalyst Council, promoted their new DVD Cat Carriers: Friends Not Foes, along with sharing their Veterinary Resource Packets to assist veterinarians in having a feline friendly practices. I met a lot of people in the industry, and was able to get many new contacts for the organization’s newsletter “All About The Cat”, which is a wonderfully produced newsletter with relevant information for cat owners, veterinary industry, media, editors and anyone interested in staying on top of what’s happening for cats! To get involved, or sign up for the email go to http://catalystcouncil.org/help/
In September I attended the New England Pet Expo at the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium. Amazing Pet Expos, a St. Louis based company, produced a professional event that attracted many excellent vendors and animal rescue groups from around the New England area. Their goal was to educate and inspire the New England Pet community. I picked up a lot of swag while visiting booths in search of anything related to cats. Here’s what I found!
Collar Me Chic
Collar Me Chic offered fancy felines unique and fun collars. These trendy collars are equipped with the break away release benefits cat parents love, while also offering sparkly fun, or the ability to personalize with rhinestones pendants or charms. Check them out online at: www.Collar-Me-Chic.com.
Off The Wall Cat Playsets
Off The Wall Cat Playsets had one of the coolest new products I’ve seen. And it’s made right here in Massachusetts, of high quality craftsmanship! This is a unique product that is completely adjustable and you can arrange the pieces any way you’d like. There are carpeted perches, houses and scratch pads. To find out more about this locally made item, go to http://www.offthewallcats.com.
The Kitty Connection, is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers who rescue domestic animals, primarily kittens and cats and prepare them for adoption. They also have a Cable TV show in the Medford area called The Pet Connection. Kitty Connection had a great booth with lots of available kittens for adoption-most were sleeping, but golly they were adorable. I also found a new cat book called Cats’ A.B.C. by Beverly Nichols! I was so excited to find a used cat book I didn’t have in my collection, it’s a good read. View Kitty Connection website:http://www.kittyconnection.net/
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” In today’s society, our pets are treated more and more like true members of the family.
Pet owners will spend about $10 billion for veterinary care in 2008. In 2001, $28.5 billion was spent providing for companion animals. All this expenditure comes from the love and care that people have for the pet family member. And much like any important member of the family, many pet owners are planning for the eventualities regarding the future care of their beloved pet.
In the legal field there has been a movement towards estate planning devices designed specifically to address the care of a pet in the case of the caregiver’s incapacity and death. According to some sources, between 12% and 27% of pet owners include their pets in their estate planning, including wills.
Under the current law, you cannot leave money to your pet in your will. A pet is considered property under the law, and you can’t leave property to property. If you do, a court may find the pet clause to be void, and the money will go to another beneficiary in the will. The pet’s status may be left in limbo.
However, you still may be able to provide for your pet after you are gone. You can always formally bequeath you’re your pet to a family member or trusted friend that has agreed to take on the responsibility. This would be introduced as a valid pet clause in your will. Furthermore, you should always name a replacement caretaker for your pet in case there has been a change in circumstances.
Another method of providing for your pet is the pet trust. Trusts are considered by some experts as the most predictable and reliable method to provide for a pet animal. A pet trust names a caretaker, or trustee, to manage money specifically for the pet’s care. Many high-profile individuals have died with significant provisions in their trusts for the benefit of their pets. For example, last winter Trouble, the fluffy white Maltese of “The Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley, passed away after years of being the world’s richest dog. Mrs. Helmsley, who died in 2007, left the dog $12 million in a trust for its care. After Mrs. Helmsley’s death, the dog was cared for by Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.
Singer Dusty Springfield made provisions in favor of her cat, Nicholas to be fed imported baby food. Also, Doris Duke, the sole heir to Baron Buck Duke who built Duke University and started the American Tobacco Company, left $100,000 in trust for the benefit of her pet poodle, Minnie. However, not every state allows pet trusts. You should carefully check the laws of your state, or consult with an attorney.
For over a century, U.S. pet owners have tried to provide for a wide variety of animals, including dogs, cats, parrots, horses, burros, and chimpanzees. The law has acknowledged that a decedent’s pets may be her closest friends, companions, and even “sole immediate family.” Let’s make sure to provide properly for their future.
About The Contributor: Kyle Courtney, a lawyer, works at Harvard law School, and has two cats and two rabbits.