When she died in 1991, German born Countess Karlotta Liebenstein, left her entire fortune to her pet German shepherd, Gunther III. The amount she left was sufficiently eye-watering to be reported confusingly in amounts ranging from $106 million to $145 million.
A stipulation was that the capital must be passed on to Gunther’s heir. When the time came for Gunther IV to take over, the fortune had accumulated to an impressive – and generally agreed – $372 million.
In July 2000, the BBC reported that Gunther IV had bought Madonna’s palatial mansion in Miami (besides already owning villas in Italy and the Bahamas). He would sleep in Madonna’s former bedroom and the rest of the house would be used for ‘filming and fashion shows’.
Another wealthy woman caused a stir over a dog in 2009 – but this time she was still alive. The New York Post reported that a wealthy Chinese woman, who already owned a fairly rare Tibetan Collie, was visiting the Qinghai province and saw another one – 18 months old and 80 cms (31 inches) high.
She felt she had to have this one too, so bought it for a reported cost of $585,000 – at that time thought to be the highest ever price paid for a dog. According to local reports, the dog’s travel and arrival in his new province was in red carpet style: a throng gathered to see a motorcade of 30 vehicles collect him from Xi’an airport and deliver him to Mrs Wang’s home.