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Millionaire Pets: Shopping Habits of the World's Richest Animals

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Here at Racked, we're dedicating this week to the kind of fantastical shopping that most of us only get to experience in dreams (or at 80%-off sample sales). Taking a page from casino parlance, we'll be talking a lot about "whales," those big spenders who feel perfectly comfortable dropping tens of thousands of dollars every night on roulette, or, in our case, on Cartier. Welcome to Whale Week 2013.

Most pets are content with two square meals a day, regular walks, and some cuddling. But most pets aren't millionaires. Thanks to some seriously wealthy animal owners, who are either extra appreciative or extra crazy, there are a number of four-legged friends out there who clean up in the inheritance department and can afford to spoil themselves even after their owners are gone. But what would you buy if you were hairy all over and can't walk yourself? Apparently, the answer is jewelry, some accessories, and occasionally real estate. For more on the shopping habits of the world's wealthiest pets, head over the jump.

Image via Steve Butler/The Daily Beast

Alexander McQueen's English bull terriers Minter, Juice, and Callum: Inheritance of approximately $80,000 each
Alexander McQueen left nearly $80,000 to the care of his English bull terriers after his suicide in 2010. It's the same amount he left to human housekeepers for their "loyal service" and his nephew and godson. He also ensured that other, unknown animals were taken care of by donating the largest sum—$165,000—to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity. If we were betting pet inheritance aficionados, we'd say McQueen was a great animal lover, so it's not difficult to believe the rumor that the note he left simply read, "Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee."

Image via Deseret News

Gail Posner's chihuahua Conchita: Inheritance of $3 million plus
Heiress Gail Posner left her chihuahua Chonchita and two other pups $3 million, her Miami mansion, a similarly well-cared-for household staff, and a whole lot of Tiffany's diamond necklaces, which the dogs wore for the remainder of their days—along with their complete wardrobe of cashmere sweaters and tutus.

The good life as demonstrated by Leona Helmsley and Trouble, via NPR

Leona Helmsley's maltese Trouble: Inheritance of $2 million
Leona Helmsley, billionaire hotel tycoon and the so-called "Queen of Mean," bequeathed $12 million to her Maltese Trouble upon her death in 2007. According to her will, two of Helmsley's grandchildren received no money for "reasons that are known to them."

Unfortunately for Trouble, the estate was judged to be too excessive for the needs of a dog and reduced to $2 million to cover the bare essentials, including a body guard's salary. So no shopping sprees for her, but the lap dog, who has been described as "testy" and "a biter," was flown by private jet from New York to Florida under the alias "Bubble" (she had been on the receiving end of death threats, kidnapping threats, and breeding threats for most of her life) to live out the remaining four years of her life under the care of the general manager of one Helmesley's Floridian hotels. There, she was gradually weened off off her former diet of crab cakes, cream cheese, and steamed vegetables with chicken.

Tom making headlines, via YouTube/ITN Productions

Maria Assunta's stray cat Tommassino: Inheritance of $16.9 million
Here's a heart-warming rags-to-riches tale: Maria Assunta, the childless widow to an Italian property tycoon, took in a stray cat in her later years and named it Tommassino. When she died at 94 in 2011, she left him a fortune valued at $16.9 million in cash and properties in Rome, Milan, Calabria. However, because animals can't legally inherit money in Italy, the estate is administered through Tommassino's nurse, Stefania, who promised Maria that she would look after Tommassino until her dying day. Let's hope for both of them that "looking after" means Stefania and Tommasino treat themselves to a matching wardrobes full of Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, etc. She in heels, he in kitten mittons. Aw.

The images circulating on the internet show Gunther IV living quite the life, via GemmaNews

Karlotta Liebenstein's German Shepherd Gunther III, Inheritance of $80 million, and Gunther IV, current worth of $140 million
In July 2000, Madonna sold her eight bedroom Miami villa for $7.7 million to a German Shepherd. Actually, she sold the villa to agents acting on behalf of a German Shepherd. His name is Gunther IV and he allegedly inherited $80 million from his father, Gunther III, also a German Shepherd, who inherited that amount from German countess Karlotta Liebenstein in 1992. Thanks to Gunther IV'shis handlers' wise investment choices, the fortune has since grown to about $140 million, making him the wealthiest animal in the world.

His named popped up again in 2001 when he arrived "in person" (along with two of his handlers) to purchase a rare white truffle for about $1,570 at an auction in Turin. There are pictures on the internet of unconfirmed origin that suggest he is, in fact, a Ray-Bans man.
· All Whale Week coverage [Racked]