I am not your typical pet lover.
As a teenager, my mother was frightened by a dog. She never got over it and passed that fear on to me. In fact, we would cross the street whenever we saw a dog—even if it was on a leash, even if it was tiny. My only relationship with animals was to ensure that our paths never crossed. I carried that fear for decades.
Nor am I your typical lawyer.
Most lawyers start on their legal paths in college. I went to law school after careers as a teacher, mother, grandmother, businesswoman, Broadway theater producer and chef. I’m glad I did so many other things before I came to the law. They have helped me understand what people need the law to do for them.
In law school my focus was trust and estate law. Homework, in one of my classes, was to write a “last Will and testament.” I wrote my Will, leaving funds and property to my three children, grandchildren, and charity—and some to my dog, Soupbone. The professor gave me an A+ yet drew a big red X through everything pertaining to Soupbone.
“Dogs are property,” he wrote. “They can’t inherit.”
He went on: “You know, this part about the dog in the Will, this is just like invisible ink, all these instructions and care and how to spend the money and all that. That’s not enforceable.”
That’s when I realized that Soupbone, the rescue dog that meant so much to me, couldn’t be protected in my Will. Who would keep life going for this little dog if something happened to me that kept me from caring for him? My promise to him was: "You’ll never be abandoned again."
The commitment we make to pets is for the duration of their lives. It doesn’t end if our ability to care for them ends before they die.