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THIS POST BEARS REPEATING! In the past month, at two different estates, I had to deal with two abandined cats and a dog. In both cases, the owners were elderly, and yet, they neglected to plan for their pets!

Meet Posey: her owner was 92 years old and when she died, Posey was left alone and the heirs would not take her. We are currently fostering her and trying to find her a forever home (Posey is not good with cats which is why she cannot stay with us).

Anyone who is my friend me or follows my Instagram knows that I love animals as I post a lot about them. We have four pets (too many according to my husband): two dogs and two cats, all rescues and two of them from an estate sale. Plus, we now have dog foster from another estate sale.

In fact, over the course of my estate sale career, I have had to rehome quite a few animals, including an old turtle, some dogs, and two cats (that was a total foster fail).

Why do animals get left behind?

In most cases, someone dies and there is no estate plan for the pet. Sometimes, a client moves and they can’t or do not want to take the animal and just leave it behind (two of my cats).

In the first scenario, please make an estate plan for your animals while you are alive. Do not leave the burden of your dog on your already harried heirs. Start by asking friends and family if anyone is willing to accept the pet in the event of your demise, and do not be hurt if no one wants it. This is particularly important if you have a very long lived pet, like a parrot or a turtle. If no one of your acquaintance wants the animal, find a no-kill shelter that will take the animal, specify the shelter along with a monetary donation in your will. In fact, if someone in your family is willing to take your pet, a little extra bequest to cover the care and feeding of your animal is a nice gesture.

In the second scenario, do not just abandon the animal and leave it for me to find, because when I find them, they are always sick and neglected. I will tend to these animals and find them homes, but I charge extra because it takes a lot of time and there are vet bills. Arrange to give the animal away before you move. NextDoor is a good place to rehome a pet, or take the pet to a shelter and give them a donation for the animal’s care.

I think a lot of people are too embarrassed and ashamed when they have an animal that they no longer want, so they abandon the animal rather than do the responsible thing. It’s okay to no longer want to keep a pet, but it’s evil to mistreat it and abandon it. Put your embarrassment aside and think about the animal do right by it and find a good home.

A recipe for success…

One of my dogs, Daisy, was surrendered to Orphans of the Storm. She has a lot of personality and her previous owners could not deal with her, but they did the right thing and took her to a shelter and we adopted her. She’s a dachshund/chihuahua/?? mix so Daisy is feisty and scrappy. One of the items on her surrender notes was that she was smelly. Well, it turns out that she has a gluten sensitivity (gluten makes her farty, such a simple fix) and needs a wheat free diet. My husband and I have developed a homemade dog food for her, but this recipe is really good for any dog, food issues or not. Give it try: your dog will be really healthy and it might solve some of your dog’s issues.


1 lb ground meat (I get whatever is on sale)

1 16oz container of 4% milk fat cottage cheese

1 1/2 cups of quick oats, or cooked rice, or cooked steel cut oats

1 16oz package of frozen mixed vegetables

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tbs dried oregano (aids digestion)

1 tbs dried parsley (freshens breath)

blueberries, cranberries (optional—if you have some freezer burned fruit left for making

smoothies, this is a good use for it)

It’s basically a meatloaf for dogs. Just mix it all up, put it in an ovenproof dish, bake at 350 for 90 minutes. Allow to cool and then put it in the fridge. It lasts for a few days. We have two medium sized dogs and this is enough, with some kibble, for about 5-6 days. If I have some bruised, safe for dogs, fruit or veg hanging around that is a little past its prime, I will add it in. Other good additions are sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach and kale.

As the late Bob Barker always reminded us, spay and neuter your pets, but Miss Sophia reminds you to make estate plans for your pets.

Since, 2015, Sophia’s Estate Sales and Appraisals has been offering premier estate sale services throughout the Chicago area. Call 773-729-0638 for a consultation.

1 Comment

Terri Willis
Terri Willis
Jul 09

Sophia, I could not agree with you more, the continued care of beloved pets must be addressed in one's estate plan. My aunt in Las Vegas always updates her estate papers with instructions for her pets as well as appropriate financial gestures for the agencies and organizations from which she adopted her dogs. You and your spouse are HEROES for helping bridge Posey to her forever home!

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