The homeless cats and dogs of Carter County, Tennessee are sitting pretty after inheriting the $1.2 million estate of Glenda Taylor DeLawder.
DeLawder, who died on November 13, 2016, stipulated that her entire estate go toward helping care and provide for Carter County Tennessee's shelter animals.
On Christmas day, Carter County Mayor, Leon Humphrey, shared a message from the DeLawder family:
"Mrs. DeLawder's family asked me to share with you that she loved her cats and dogs so very much and wanted her love and care of them to be her everlasting gift...I think Mrs. DeLawder would be very pleased that her gift will be able to provide for future cats and dogs at the shelter for as long as the shelter exists."
The shelter to which Humphrey was referring is the Elizabethton Carter County Animal Shelter. Already, the administrators of DeLawder's estate have gifted the shelter $540,000 to expand and improve the animal holding areas, and to purchase a van for transport.
Construction on the shelter is set to begin on January 9, and the new van is expected by the first of March.
"Mrs. DeLawder's gift will allow us to do far more for the animals than we could ever have done otherwise," Humphrey wrote to PEOPLE in an email. Furthermore, DeLawder's gift is believed to be among Carter County's most sizable private gifts ever bestowed, and all involved in administrating the estate are dedicated to ensuring that DeLawder's wishes are carried out to the letter.
Shannon Posada, director of the Elizabethton Carter County Animal Shelter, says everyone is in awe.
"It's amazing, people are like 'Wow,' it's just so shocking to everyone here...She left everything she had, and she wanted her gift to provide. She truly loved dogs and cats."
Descriptions from an online tribute wall describe DeLawder as a wonderful friend, neighbor, and landlord. And with her final gift, she's earned herself the designation of "angel" as well.
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