The Rip Van Wrinkler, XXIII, Issue 3, August 2019

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In Memory of Judy Brader. . .
by Marcia Woodard
Originally published in the AKC GAZETTE "Breed Columns" AUGUST 2018 & the BCOA Yearbook, 2019.

Fancier Judy Brader, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, passed away sometime during the early morning of February 15 (2018). She lived alone with 22 Basenjis. Judy was a member of the Basenji Club of America and successfully showed and lure coursed her dogs. One of Judy’s last actions was to start a crockpot of chicken wings for the dogs.

That morning, Linda and Ned Madden, Judy’s friends and fellow lure coursing enthusiasts, were asked to check on Judy because she wasn’t answering her phone. After Ned arrived and found her, the police were contacted, and then animal control. Ned stayed to ensure the dogs were safe and helped load them.

That same day, Judy’s sister, Charlotte Holzman, posted a message on Judy’s Facebook page to inform Judy’s friends of her passing. Charlotte also wanted everyone to know the dogs were in the local shelter. Word immediately got to representatives of Basenji Rescue and Transport (BRAT), and rescue plans were formed.

As next of kin, Charlotte was designated by the shelter as guardian of Judy’s dogs. Judy had left no instructions for emergency care, but over the next week, Charlotte and BRAT coordinated to foster/place 21 of the dogs. The one remaining dog, Winter (FC New World Baridi NGano, LCM 3), had been bred by fancier Karla Kraus Schreiber, and she was able to have him flown to her (in accordance with a “take back” clause in their agreement) by coordinating with Charlotte and fancier Carolyn Rollins Boutchyard, who lives in the area.

Basenji fancier and BRAT volunteer Donna LaFornia commented on her experience of the rescue effort. “I was in Hollywood, Florida, for the winter. Melissa Ketterer [fellow BRAT volunteer] called Saturday night, because she was looking for a co-pilot to Virginia to pick up eight of these pups and deliver them to foster homes.”

Google maps showed this was a 44-hour round-trip, and Donna needed to work in two days. They left the next morning and arrived at the shelter the following day.

Donna’s report continues: “After 10 minutes, out came these dogs! Love at first sight. And they were greeting their pack that they haven’t seen or smelled in several days. Tails wagging, and so cute! We got PeeWee, Houdini, Tigger, Bella, Bob Marley, Fancy, Foxtrot, and Whiskey.”

The first drop was a five-hour drive. “Melissa was behind the wheel, and I looked for the breeder’s name on the papers we received from the shelter—Judy Brader. I Googled her name and started reading her Facebook posts aloud.”

Judy Brader. December 23, 2017.Does anyone fix Christmas “dinner” for their dogs? I usually get a couple of ducks and crockpot them until they fall apart. Skinned, deboned, and the juice refrigerated until I can skim off the fat. Then back to the pot w/ rice, peas & carrots. AND because mine love them, black-eyed peas. Mixed with kibble and DINNER IS SERVED!

“As we continued reading, we fell in love with this woman because of her love for all these dogs. We laughed and we cried. We could relate. I felt bonded to Judy and to the dogs.”

Donna now owns Whiskey, one of the younger pups. “I just wish I had had a chance to meet Judy,” she says.

Planning for Your Dogs’ Care
If the story of Judy Brader’s dogs makes you grateful for everyone involved with BRAT and for family, friends, and fellow fanciers, or makes you think about what you could do about setting up care for your pets after you die or become incapacitated, I’m with you.

I discovered a wealth of information online by searching for “Estate Planning Pets.” An AKC GAZETTE article “Estate Planning for Breeders” by Lisa M. Curry, Esq., is especially useful for breeders with multiple dogs. The AARP and Petfinder sites have practical information and sample forms. The AKC Canine Health Foundation site provides useful language for designating a charity.

What follows is a brief summary of my main takeaways from these online resources. (To be clear, I am not giving legal advice but simply encouraging you to investigate on your own and/or consult an attorney in your state.)

WILLS: you can authorize your executor to spend money from the estate to care for your pets, and you can leave money to an individual(s) with instructions to care for your pets. However, a delay can/does occur before a will takes effect. Also, keep in mind that while wills transfer assets, there is no ongoing supervision.

TRUSTS: You can put money in a trust and someone—the trustee—is designated to use that money to take care of your pets if you are incapacitated or die. Brief or no delays occur with a trust, and a trustee has a legal duty of carrying out your wishes.

Temporary emergency caregivers. Back up your will and your trust with a simple agreement for a caretaker to immediately take custody in case you become incapacitated or pass away and until the trust or will takes over. Post the emergency caregiver information in your house—on the refrigerator, for example—so that emergency responders know whom to contact. See the links above for samples of this agreement.

For all of the above documents, make sure several people have copies. It should be no mystery who is going to care for your pets if you cannot.

I’ll let Judy’s sister, Charlotte, have the last word: “Please remember, you are not an island: You have family and friends who will be there when you need help. Give them a chance even when you aren’t sure you need them. That give and take is what makes us closer.” —Marcia Woodard, Basenji Club of America.

Winter, at home with his breeder, Karla Schreiber - FC New World Baridi Ngano, LCM 3.