Greyt Inspirations Life

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Star Trek and doga

We have another story somewhat related to the Leona Helmsley story earlier this week. How many of you are Star Trek fans? If you are from my generation (and I’m not saying what generation that is) then you couldn’t escape growing up with Star Trek. That means that you know who Gene Roddenberry was — and you probably know who Majel Barrett Roddenberry was. Well, Majel Barret Roddenberry, Gene 425barrettmajel121808Roddenberry’s wife, died late last year. Her estate is now in probate. According to documents obtained by E! News, Mrs. Roddenberry has left $4 million to her dogs so they can continue to live in one of her mansions. She’s left another $1 million to their longtime caretaker, Reinelda Estupian, and residential rights in the home.

“I do not want the animals to be placed in a kennel or other boarding facility,” Majel stated, adding that she also wished for her trustees to hire someone to check up on the dogs periodically, “to be certain that they are being cared for properly (as I cared for them during my lifetime).”

Unlike Leona Helmsley who left many close family members out of her will, Mrs. Roddenberry left $100 million to her 35-year-old son, Eugene Roddenberry Jr., to be paid in installments.

Gene Roddenberry died in 1991. His and Mrs. Roddenberry’s ashes are to be launched by rocket into orbit next year.

If you’re familiar with the Star Trek series and movies you know that Majel Barrett Roddenberry played Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana Troi, the voice of the ship’s computer, and made a few other appearances over the years. Interesting to know that her dogs will be benefiting from the Star Trek empire.

I’m starting to wonder how these millionaire dogs spend their days. What do you think they do with their time after their owners have passed away and they are living in total luxury? Do they have a personal chef? A masseuse? They probably have a swimming pool. I wonder if they simply lie beside the pool or if they get in and swim a few laps. I wonder if they have a wardrobe and expensive collars? Does the vet make house calls for them?

artdownwarddog2cnnMaybe they need to do doggie yoga to handle all of the stress of being rich, celebrity dogs. CNN has an interesting story online about doga — doggie yoga. The reporter, unfortunately, has kind of a snarky attitude, but the class sounds kind of interesting.

“There are a lot of people who think it’s a little silly, but the class is very lighthearted,” said Sophie’s “mother,” Grace. She carries Sophie around in a Louis Vuitton bag that’s bigger than my apartment. “No one takes it too seriously. It’s just a chance to bond with your dog and have fun,” she said.

Another class member brought her “baby” because she thinks he’s a bit too hyper and needs to chill out.

Instructor Kari Harendorf has been teaching doga for several years. She said she believes the classes are perfect for these stressful times.

“It’s actually been proven scientifically that just the simple act of petting a dog will release happy hormones in humans and will lower their cortisol, which is the stress hormone,” she said.

“Studies have also shown that it goes both ways, that when dogs receive the petting and attention that their stress levels decrease.”

By the end of our session, the dogs did appear to be more “blissed out,” to borrow a term from Harendorf. Not a bark or a growl was heard. The only person panting was me.

I keep promising myself that I will give yoga a try. I even bought the mat and a DVD so I could attempt it at home. The only problem is that every time I try to get started I am surrounded by five dogs snuffling and nosing me in the floor. Maybe if I try to make them part of the session I will have more luck. Instead of doing yoga I should be trying to do doga. I will say that even doing it the way I’ve been trying has been a stress-buster. You can’t stay very stressed when you have five dogs trying to play with you in the floor. We usually end up rolling around and laughing. It’s all good.

Embedded video from CNN Video

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April 23, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Helmsley money not going to the dogs

Leona Helmsley is in the news again, even though the hotel queen died in 2007. That’s because Helmsley’s $5 billion estate is finally being distributed to charity.

Leona Helmsley and Trouble.  Helmsley's estate will be divided among all kinds of charities.

Leona Helmsley and Trouble. Helmsley's estate will be divided among all kinds of charities.

You may remember that Helmsley’s death caused, well, rejoicing among dog lovers because she left most of it to the dogs. Not just to her own dog, the little Maltese Trouble, who was supposed to inherit $12 million. Helmsley left nearly all of her enormous estate to dog charities.

Well, a couple of years have passed and things have changed. Trouble’s portion of the estate has been reduced from $12 million to a measly $2 million (it costs an estimated $100,000 a year just to provide security for the little dog). And a Manhattan judge ruled in February that Helmsley’s trustees had sole discretion in allocating money from her estate. They could distribute the money to whatever charities they saw fit. They didn’t have to limit themselves to dog groups.

This week the Helmsley trustees began announcing the first of their grants. Out of the first $136 million distributed most of the money went to medical centers and not to dog organizations. Only $1 million, so far, has gone to dogs.

That little change in direction has some people very, shall we say, disappointed.

“This is a trifling and embarrassingly small amount,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “Mrs. Helmsley’s wishes are clearly being subverted.”

Mr. Pacelle said, “We are extremely disappointed that less than 1 percent of the allocation announced is going to animal-related organizations, and only one-tenth of 1 percent is going to animal welfare organizations.”

“We are in touch,” he continued, “with the interested parties and are hoping to have a satisfactory resolution — a much larger percentage than 1 percent.”

The $1 million for animal rights and welfare was divided equally among 10 charities, including the A.S.P.C.A. and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Uh huh. Now the Humane Society of the United States is not a poor organization. They have assets of over $200 million themselves. They have total annual revenue of $100,000,000. And that doesn’t include all of their spin-off organizations like the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the other groups that they operate, such as Humane Society International. I guess that’s why they consider $1 million a trifling sum. But they do depend a lot on snapping up estates from the elderly. I’m sure that it is very disappointing for them not to be receiving the millions or billions they hoped to be getting from Mrs. Helmsley’s estate. Poor Wayne.

Just for the record, HSUS does not operate your local humane society or animal shelter. Those are locally run and HSUS does not contribute to their expenses. When you donate to HSUS the money does not go to your local animal shelter. If you want to help your local shelter you should donate directly to them. HSUS is a national organization that uses their money for lobbying, legislation and fundraising, not helping animals in shelters.

I am actually undecided how I feel about Mrs. Helmsley’s estate and the judge’s actions. I think people should have the right to leave their estates as they wish, and that should include leaving them to their pets. But, gee whiz. The bulk of $5 billion? That’s a lot of money. I can’t help thinking that money can help a lot of people, too.

Maybe the most important thing here is that the money is being used to do some good, one way or another. Some of it is being used to help dogs and a lot of it is being used to help people. But both ways the money is doing good.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment