Esta’s story: The importance of setting up a pet trust

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By Michael Morefield

For years, Esta Maltz was a constant and welcome sight in Arizona Animal Welfare League’s (AAWL) cattery.

She made weekly visits to the long-timer adults, helped clean kennels and checked the collars on kittens to make sure they fit right. Whenever scissors went missing, Maltz most likely had borrowed them to fix a new kitten’s collar.

It was in Maltz’s spirit to be a caretaker, whether it was cats and kittens or veterans at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix. Maltz was a veteran herself and worked in the medical field during her time in the Army. She had seen what soldiers endured during her service and devoted most of her life helping them. In her retirement, though, she didn’t heal them with checkups and medications but with her smile and positive energy.

The day after her 58th birthday, Maltz was scheduled for a routine surgery she had been putting off for a while. She unexpectedly died during the procedure.

Unbeknownst to all but a few, Maltz had left part of her estate to AAWL to help continue its mission of ending pet homelessness in her community.

Although she had died unexpectedly, her affairs were in order. It allowed AAWL to quickly bring her cats to the no-kill shelter and use the funds she has set aside to care for her beloved pets while waiting for a new forever home.

“Her memorial was slated for a small room to celebrate her life, but her love and friendship was so great that it was bursting over with people wishing to say goodbye to their friend,” recalled an AAWL volunteer who had worked closely with Maltz.

Maltz’s sister kept her oldest cat, but the other two who outlived Maltz were adopted by volunteers who knew her well.

Maltz’s death was a very sad day for AAWL, but her planning has helped bring joy to countless families in her community. That was Maltz, always the caretaker.

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