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How to Write Your Memoirs' by Ina Hillebrandt...Makes writing your life histories fun!
Don't bug 'em!
Gift Mom 'n' Dad!

Books, gifts and tools to aMUSE kids, grownups and pets ™

Scroll down to find out how to prepare for your pet's care after you're gone

Phoebe, King Cavalier Love of a Dog, Finds a Warm, Loving New Home

The joys of adopting a pet, and what you can do to provide for your own critter friends if you are no longer able to take care of them

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About Ina

When Ms. Harriet Held, Phoebe's original owner, was lost to an unfair illness during the summer of 2007, the executors of her estate, Robbie and Pearl, brought Phoebe to their house immediately to take care of her. Unable to provide a permanent home, they turned to Harriet's friend Pat Mooney to help them find good parents for the loveable doggie.

Not willing to turn Phoebs over to just anyone, Pearl and Robbie first met with the prospective owner as she was introduced to Phoebe, and then performed a house check to be sure the new home would be suitable. Fortunately, the anxious adopter was approved unanimously, and "The Phoebster" is again a happy camper, as is her new owner and everyone else in the story.

If you have ever thought about adopting a pet...
Pat's note reminds us it is not only a great kindness for the furry, it will also warm the cockles of your own heart immeasurably if you adopt a pet. And, Harriet's untimely death is a reminder to us all to take time to think through how we would like our own pets to be cared for in case of emergency. Scroll down to read about what you can do to protect your beloved furred ones.

E-mail From Pat Mooney to Ina

Yesterday was the memorial service and burial for Harriet. About 40 people showed up. Pearl and her husband Robbie (Phoebe's former "staff") hosted a lunch afterwards at Harriet's.

We found out that Harriet had a number of friends like me, i.e., compartmentalized. Some from business (me from the Internet business), some from the neighborhood, some from her writing work, etc. Everyone referred to me as Phoebe's savior. I've done some pretty big things in my life but I guess my legacy is "Phoebe's savior."

Pearl and Robbie (who took care of Phoebe until she found a new permanent home) kept going on about how wonderful Paula, Phoebe's new owner, and her friends Jackie and Diane are. Pearl says Phoebe just loves her new digs and forgot all about her and Robbie.

You played a big part too. I've always told everyone the biggest plus was Ina had those pictures of Phoebe on the Internet. Everyone fell in love with The Phoebester through seeing her pictures. The real good story here is that Phoebe has been saved, and it also illustrates the power of the Internet ... instantly.*

BTW, I also found out why Pearl was a little frustrated about Phoebe. When Pearl first took Phoebe home, she was going to give her some Kibbles 'N' Bits. I guess a couple of the other women went a little hyper and told her about Phoebe's menu. Evidently Harriet used to go to great lengths preparing fresh chicken, skinless, and rice or vegetables for her furry friend.

Thanks. Good luck.

Pat Mooney

*Note from Ina: 
Because we do not have the resources to help everyone, and local homes are what are needed, we urge you to send a story and photos of bereaved pet(s) to your own list of e-mail friends, and ask them to forward to their own friends. Be sure you have a contact on the e-mail who is willing and able to make arrangements and to meet prospective new owners. Also, it's a great idea to be in touch with your local pet rescue centers; they have wonderful pets who need to give as much as receive love if you're looking for a new family member.

Preparing for Your Pet's Future in the Case of His/Her Outliving You is Critical -- Lessons learned from Leona Helmsley

I know, it's hard to think about, and even if you do, harder still to plan for a pet's care after our own demise or serious illness. But read on to see how Leona Helmsley has helped us all to provide for our pets in the case of our death or incapacitation. Huh? The 'Queen of Mean,' helping someone? Inadvertently...please read on.

From Pat Mooney

Tuesday’s USA Today (Sept. 6, 2007) had a column about Leona Helmsley putting $12 million dollars into a trust for the care of her dog Troubles after Helmsley’s death; two of her grandchildren got nothing.

As some of you know, I just went thru the recent death of a close friend, Harriet Held. Harriet owned a King Charles dog named Phoebe. There was no $12M trust waiting for Phoebe … much to Phoebe’s disappointment, I might add.

Thousands of pets in shelters are there To prevent this from happening to those of us without a $12M trust for our pets after we’ve gone, I've put together some thoughts.
  • You should take action now to insure your pets are cared for if you die or become incapacitated.
  • This could be done by including a gift or bequest in your will (not the same protection as a trust), leaving your pet, and money to cover its care, to a trusted friend or family member.
  • Another option is to find someone who agrees to care for your pet. You could set up a separate bank account to cover expenses and name the friend as the beneficiary.
  • Don’t just assume a family member will step in and adopt your pets if you are no longer around. That has become apparent with Helmsley’s Troubles. Even with $12M set aside no relative wants to take care of the dog.
  • Taking home your pet can be like taking in a child. Possibly your relatives don’t have room, or have children that would be safe or comfortable around pets, etc. In this case, finding adoptive parents is important. Think about how to do this with a friend. Scout local adoption agencies and give your friend a list of those you trust, along with your wishes about keeping pets together, whether a home visit is important, etc.

We were fortunate to find a wonderful person who fell in love with Phoebe and vice versa.

The resounding point throughout the USA Today article was: prepare. I couldn't agree more.

The Humane Society of the U.S. has an excellent free kit to help you think through plans to provide for your pet.


When the horrible hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit our shores, we posted a disaster preparedness list, based on information reprinted with permission from the Humane Society of the U.S. There are many practical tips on how to provide for our pet family members in case of natural disasters. Click here to find out more.

Pet Eulogies   More Phoebe Photos and Tails  King Charles Spaniels