PetWill Radio

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Horses in Need

I spent the day looking at horses with my friend, Lisa. She has a been a riding partner of mine for more than 15 years. Her trusty mount, Shalizar - a full Arab, is now in his 20's and although he still has plenty of pep, isn't always reliably sound. So, we are seeking another horse to ride/train/compete.

It's unbelievable what's available in the form of horseflesh right now. Clearly there are more horses than there are homes. There are daily stories of people simply abandoning their horses or turning them loose to fend for themselves.

Just this week a friend, Diane Delano who runs Wild Horse Rescue in Mims, Florida sent out a plea for help. She has more horses than she has funds to care for them. Not enough people are supporting not for profit rescues and too many people expect that someone else wants to take on their responsibility for a pet/animal when they no longer have the time/resources, etc. to properly care for the pet. Diane does an awesome job - she's got 28 horses available - not all Mustangs either. Personally, I am a huge Mustang fan - I have two - but they require a certain dedication that most people don't have.

Earlier today, Lisa and I travelled to Ocala, Florida - true horse country - to look at a little 1/2 Arab/1/2 Andalusian mare. What a beautiful sweet horse - with push button manners. Unbelievable that this little beauty would end up in rescue. She can be found at Starting Over Ranch run by Melissa, a young woman who is clearly dedicated to finding the right home for the animals she serves.

Horses, dogs and cats everywhere need help today. If you can help, please send your donations to these groups. I also support several other rescue organizations that are also more than deserving - please visit Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Days End Farm and Angels Have Whiskers

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Attention Dog Lovers

Anyone who knows me, knows I love dogs. I just watched this youtube video. It's worth the five minutes - I dare you not to cry. There is no dog anywhere that deserves to be treated this way. Dogs give love unconditionally. They live in the present - asking nothing in return but to be loved and properly cared for. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Special Needs Planning

On Friday August 14, 2009, The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan hosted their first annual Special Needs Conference. We had a great first year turn out! The speakers were great, Attorney Rick Culbertson who spoke on the topics of SSI and SSDI; Nick Barton with AGED who spoke on pooled trusts, Amy Cameron O'Rourke from the Cameron Group who talked about the benefits of a professional care manager and Theresa Barton, a professional guardian with Guardian Care Management & Beneftis Services, Inc. who told us about the role of the professional guardian.

We had lots of great vendors as well. The interaction between all of the participants is what makes an event like this really special. You learn more from talking directly to folks than from simply listening to a presentation. Special thanks to Jean and David Stedman and the University Presbyterian Church for their efforts and the meeting location. We will hope to do this again next year.

Our next special needs planning workshop will be held at the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, Oviedo, Florida in December. Visit our website for more information.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pet Trusts

Attention all pet lovers,

Below you'll see some breaking news regarding Leona Helmsley's estate including a pet trust leaving money for the benefit of her dog, Trouble, as well as a charitable trust leaving money for the benefit of organizations to benefit dogs. The New York courts have gone against Ms. Helmsley's wishes regarding trust distributions to her dog and to her favorite cause - dogs.

As most of you know, pets are my passion and planning for your pets and pet trusts is one of my favorite subjects. My book, All My Children Wear Fur Coats - How to Leave a Legacy for Your Pet addresses just this subject. I encourage all of my clients who love their pets to make sure they include their pets as part of their planning - from making sure they are mentioned in the will, to a full-blown pet trust for their lifetime care.

If this case can be won, it will be a victory for animals everywhere. The courts should not have the latitude to change the intent of the Trustmaker (in this case Leona). As long as a person is of sound mind at the creation of their will or trust, their desires should be adhered to. It shouldn't and doesn't matter what her named successors want - it is not their money. Leona has a right to name whomever and whatever she wants to benefit for her lifetime of labor. I'm in favor of leaving it to the dogs!



HSUS, ASPCA, and Maddie's Fund Charge That Helmsley Trustees Are Misdirecting Funds Despite Clear Direction from Late Heiress to Help Dogs
NEW YORK (Aug. 11, 2009) -- Three of the country's most prominent animal welfare organizations -- in what they are terming the most significant financial litigation in animal welfare history -- have filed suit in New York's Surrogate Court to intervene in the matter of Leona Helmsley's $5 billion estate.

The groups are seeking to force the Helmsley Trustees to follow Mrs. Helmsley's expressed intent to help dogs. According to the groups, less than $100,000 of the initial $136 million Helmsley grants have gone to dog welfare.

"Mrs. Helmsley's Trust Agreement was clear: Help dogs. And the Trustees have not done this, and instead pursued their own agendas with Mrs. Helmsley's money," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Every person with a will or estate, and every charity that relies on bequest income, should be profoundly concerned about this misdirection of funds."

The three organizations believe that State Attorneys General have a responsibility to protect the wishes of any heir or heiress, and also to protect the entire charitable sector from the whims of trustees who wish to ignore detailed and unambiguous estate planning instructions. In this case, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo failed in his charge to protect these interests.

"Literally hundreds of millions of dollars that have been willed by people nationally, who cared about dogs, have not gone to provide for dogs as was intended," said Rich Avanzino, president of Maddie's Fund. "The ignoring of donor intent in this country has become an unspoken national shame.

With $5 billion at stake this is a game changer. We want to work with the Helmsley trustees to arrive at a figure that is consistent with Mrs. Helmsley's intentions and would change injustices in dog care and welfare overnight.

For instance, even a small fraction of this money makes it possible to virtually empty all animal shelters in America of dogs without homes."

"There has been a sea change in recent years in how we treat animals and the Helmsley trustees don't understand that change," said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the ASPCA. "Mrs. Helmsley understood the importance of animal welfare and was determined to help. She had a vision for her worldly estate to make our society a better place for dogs and animals, and consequently, people. We want that noble cause to go forward. Dogs give us so much in our lives, and the least we can do is make sure they are not harmed, exploited, or neglected, and the Helmsley estate allows us to do so. It is not an overstatement to say that the fate of dogs in this country could very well rest on the decision of this lawsuit."

The trustees went to court last fall to invalidate Mrs. Helmsley's express wishes, asking the Court to declare that they "are not bound by the expression of Decedent's wishes...."

The Trustees disregarded Mrs. Helmsley's wishes and obtained court sanction for doing so. The process deprived the parties most affected by their decision -- dog welfare charities -- of any fair opportunity to have a say on the issue. Neither the Trustees nor the Attorney General contacted any of these three nonprofit organizations, which are widely recognized as the leading advocates for dog welfare in the country if not the world -- or any other organization that might speak up on behalf of the charitable community that Mrs. Helmsley had a right to expect would receive "special emphasis" in the Trustees' grant-making.

After a judicial ruling without hearing from the only charitable category of recipients specifically listed in Mrs. Helmsley's mission statement, the trustees distributed the initial round of grants from Mrs. Helmsley's trust, blatantly disregarding Mrs. Helmsley's express wishes. The trustees allocated less than .1 percent to dog welfare charities.

"These three leading organizations tried to reach an amicable solution with the trustees; unfortunately, the trustees were unwilling to discuss this with us. Now these organizations are forced to resort to litigation to correct this abuse," Pacelle said.

They have filed a motion to intervene and vacate the initial order.

# # #
Jim Yeager
breakwhitelight public relations

Heather Sullivan, HSUS

Andy Izquierdo

Maddie's Fund
Lynn Spivak
510-337-8979, cell: 707-304-4146,

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization -- backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the Web at

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit

Maddie's Fund,® The Pet Rescue Foundation, ( is a family foundation funded by Workday and PeopleSoft Founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl. Maddie's Fund is helping to create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home. The foundation is named after the family's beloved Miniature Schnauzer who passed away in 1997.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank Everybody for Everything

Thank Everybody for Everything - Grow Your Life and Business with Gratitude, that's the name of my newest book, co-authored with Debbie Roser. Debbie is an attorney colleague as well as a colleague in SendOutCards. We are getting to close to finalizing the book and going to print for a release date in September 2009. Look for us on Amazon and other online book sites. The book will also have a companion journal, Gratitude Expressions, a five-year journal to record daily blessings and appreciations.

The purpose of the book is to share with friends, family and colleagues the importance of gratitude and appreciation in our daily lives. You can improve the quality of your life and your business with sincere appreciation and gratitude. One way we are doing that in our law practice is to get into the habit of sending a heartfelt card anytime we make a new acquaintance, receive a referral, hear about an illness, death or sadness in someone's life. Likewise we want to celebrate the good things that happen in people's lives - graduations, business promotions, new homes, etc.

We look forward to sharing with you. Thank you in advance for your support.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Endurance Horseback Riding

Among other things, I love to ride my horse. A few years ago, my friend Gayle King introduced me to the world of endurance riding - or more specifically - limited distance endurance riding. Real endurance riders think nothing of riding their horse for 50 or 100 miles. Limited distance riders stick to the 25 and 30 mile varieties. So, technically, I am a limited distance rider, which is a good thing because I'm not sure whether I (or my horse) could do the longer distances. Anyway, this year we'll get our 500 mile pin. Organizations I belong to include the American Endurance Ride Conference ( and Southeast Distance Riders Association (SEDRA -

Today, my friend Lisa Senecal and I got in a good ten mile ride - awfully hot in Florida this time of year though. We rode at the Orlando Wetlands Park ( which is one of the nicest places around to ride. The trails are high and sandy or grassy. The bugs are limited. The wildlife can be amazing. We usually see 20 or more gators - not today - too hot. Instead, we saw a variety of birds, mostly buzzards. My friends and I have come to believe that the areas buzzards all make Orlando Wetlands Park their home base and fly out on missions from there. I've never seen so many buzzards just simply hanging out - in groups, alone, sitting on the bridge, hanging out in the trees. So, if you want to see buzzards, check them out. Usually though we see deer, racoons, an occasional otter (actually caught a glimpse of one today) and a few weeks ago I actually saw a bobcat - very cool. Mostly though, we see a lot of birds.

We created a club last year - very exclusive. You can only belong if you've fallen off your horse because it was spooked by an alligator. Gayle was the first to be inaugerated and then Lisa Dietrich and I followed simultaneously - no lie, we both fell off as a result of the same gator. She was sure I was going to get a good laugh when she fell off only to look up and see that I had fallen too. Fortunately, the horses didn't leave us. We scared a hiker pretty good though as he believed we had been attacked by the gator. No worries though, everyone was fine.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Special People, Special Planning

Today I attended an event hosted by Bright Feats ( , a local organization created by two moms that publishes a resource directory in Central Florida for special needs and children. I was there on behalf of my law firm, The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC ( and to promote my book on special needs planning, Special People, Special Planning - Creating a Safe Legal Haven for Families with Special Needs ( They partnered with another local organization Nathaniel's Hope ( who offers a Buddy Break program providing respite care for special needs kids so parents can get a much needed break.

Special Needs kids and families have become a big part of my life over the past 8 or so years. My friend, Candace Pollock and I determined there wasn't much available for the general public to read about special needs planning and all the mystery surrounding special needs trusts. We also each had family members with special needs and we were practicing in the estate planning area so it seemed a perfect fit. Special People, Special Planning became a reality and we've never looked back.

I love working with special needs families. It is one of the few areas of the law where the results are really immediate and you know you've done something to be proud of. I'm pleased to be able to help families create plans for their kids that will endure for years after the parents have gone to make sure their kids are provided for. So important.

Next Friday, August 14, 2009, The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan ( will host our 2009 Special Needs Conference at University Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida. We are looking forward to a great day of speakers who will address the topics of special needs trusts, trust administration, professional care management, guardianship and pooled trusts. We will also have a number of exhibitors who can share what they can do for special needs families. The cost is $20 to cover lunch and materials. Reservations are required. Hope to see you there - call our office 407 977-8080 for a reservation.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Interesting Books

I just finished reading The Shack by William P. Young. I think this book could possibly be one of the best books ever written. It certainly has the ability to change the way you view the Universe and God - at least it did for me. I was late to work this morning so I could finish reading it. It's the perfect combination of joy, laughter, wonder and tears.

I just ordered a copy to send to my mother for her 75th birthday which she is celebrating this weekend. It's one I know she will enjoy.

I would recommend this book to anyone. It was recommended to me by my friend, Joe Allen (not my husband Joe Allen) after his wife, Beth, died. It was one of her favorite books. She was a nurse practitioner who worked in an oncology practice. Thanks Joe.

After writing this I finished the acknowledgements portion of the books and they referred to what they call, "The Missy Project." The author has asked if someone enjoyed the book to share it with others - fortunately, I have with you. But, I want to give you a site you can visit for more information - the I'm hoping they make this into a movie!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Social Media

I'm fascinated with social media. Notwithstanding, I've got to say I'm totally confused. I want to be functional with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogspot and Avvo. That's my goal. But, unless you live with a teenager or have a close connection with a young person, finding information to actually make these tools work is mind boggling. I finally got my marketing assistant, Kendra, to spend some time with me this afternoon to review my sites and help me get going. I left Wordpress as my blogging spot because, frankly, I just couldn't figure it out.

I've tried to find some online tutorials and everything just tell you what the sites are, how they can potentially be used, but not how to make them work to your advantage. Kendra and I have decided we are going to work on a tutorial to teach people the top ten things they need to know about each site.

Hope you are having a great day! I'll tweet you soon.