Money means different things to different people. Some people will tell you money is everything while others will tell you it’s the root of all evil. Your opinion on the matter probably varies a lot, depending largely on how much money you’ve got.
But for the couple of thousand people in the world worth more than a billion dollars, money means something completely different to them than it does for the rest of us. How could it not when you have the power to buy just about anything without even thinking about the tag? But financial wealth doesn’t necessarily come with a wealth of character…
Early Morning Call
When Shelly woke up one day, she saw that she’d missed a phone call from an unknown number early in the morning. Getting such phone calls wasn’t all that unusual for her since she ran Rotten Rottie Rescue, Arizona’s only pet adoption charity just for rottweilers.
Puppies In Need
When she opened up the voicemail, she heard the kind of sad story that was unfortunately all too common in her line of work. A fellow dog lover named Sylvia had ten dogs, six of them puppies. Due to her advancing cancer, she would no longer be able to take care of them all and she needed some help…
A Lot Of Dogs
Sylvia wanted to surrender seven of the six puppies and their mother Coco to the rescue as soon as possible. It was going to be difficult for Shelly to take all the dogs. She ran the rescue out of her home and she was already taking care of ten dogs, which was two more than she was typically comfortable with.
Doing A Favor
But because the woman was in such a dire situation, Shelly agreed to take the dogs. Figuring that Sylvia had enough financial troubles due to her medical costs, she even agreed to waive the entire $600 surrender fee…
Shelly arranged for the 3-year-old mother Coco and Diesel, the smallest of the puppies, to stay with foster homes until their “forever” homes could be found. The other 5 dogs she would keep at her home for the time being.
But when the dogs were dropped off in mid-April, it became clear to Shelly that the situation was going to be even more difficult than she thought. It appeared that all of the dogs were in immediate need of medical treatment for various conditions…
Four of the 9-week-old puppies hadn’t received their first vaccinations, which were 3 weeks overdue and Coco had a hernia and needed to be spayed. Shelly Froehlich took care of those costs but the two 8-month-old puppies had severe hip problems from a genetic disorder that resulted from inbreeding and had apparently gone entirely untreated. On top of it all, each of the dogs had severe diarrhea and parasites, with one of them so dehydrated, he needed days on an IV in an animal hospital.
Expensive Medical Needs
Those two puppies with the hip problems would either need expensive surgery or would have to be put down to avoid a life full of nothing but severe pain. Unfortunately, the surgeries would cost as much as $20,000, something the charity could never afford. It seemed the dogs would have to be put down until Shelly found out who Sylvia really was…
Plenty Of Cash
The volunteer caring for Coco had looked up the phone number on the dog’s tags and learned that it belonged to Sylvia Shoen, the wife of the second richest man in Arizona, Joe Shoen. He was the 68-year-old son of the founder of U-haul and its current president. With $2.7 billion dollars to his name, the only man richer was Joe’s brother Mark.
After Shelly had done the favor of taking the dogs from someone with Sylvia’s considerable resources, she thought it only right that she pay for the dogs’ medical expenses, especially considering that they’d gotten into such a bad state under her care. But when she asked her to cover the bill, she couldn’t believe it when the answer came back “no.”…
Just Write It Off
What happened next was a war of text messages between the two women with Shelly trying everything she could to get the wealthy woman to pay for her dogs’ care. She recommended that the Shoens pay the surgeon directly to make sure the money went where it was intended, and write off the costs as a donation to the non-profit, making it a tax deduction.
Still, Sylvia refused to do the right thing. That’s when things started to get heated between the two women. “I was shocked that a woman of your wealth would have staff that would let these dogs get into the shape that they are in,” Shelly said in one text…
It’s Nothing To You
“You certainly can afford [the surgery],” she wrote. “You are a billionaire! You probably have a handbag that costs more than what their surgery will cost.” It’s true the $20,000 would be nothing to her. It would be less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of 1 percent of her total wealth. “You probably have a handbag that costs more than what their surgery will cost,” Shelly added.
A Copper Penny
“Please do this for them. I beg you. Don’t force me to put them out of their misery when you can give them a good life,” Shelly continued. Sylvia replied “Crazy dog adoption lady trying to squeeze the Shoen’s for $$$. This B**** will never see a copper penny!” That’s when Shelly threatened to go to social media…
I’ll Tell The World
“I will make sure that everybody knows about your dirty little secrets, and they will hear about how you neglected them of the medical care that they needed, and how god awful skinny they were when they arrived, full of parasites and illness,” Shelly wrote. When Sylvia still refused, Shelly posted screenshots of their text conversations on Facebook.
Their vicious exchange spread quickly, getting over 800 shares in just a short period of time. There were a few people who stood up for Sylvia, saying that she’d just been through a brutal bout with cancer and had simply hired a bad caretaker for the dogs. But the majority of the people had nothing but disdain for the way the dogs had been treated and the billionaire’s refusal to make things right…
Just Give Them Back
Two days later, Joe Shoen drove to Rotten Rottie Rescue to take the dogs back but Shelly refused to give them up. She had concerns about returning the dogs to owners who’d let them get in such bad shape, especially after getting some calls about the condition they were in from people who’d been to the Shoens’ home.
Fine, We’ll Pay
After a few days of intense social media pressure, the Shoens decided to give in to Shelly’s wishes and pay for the dogs’ medical expenses, which came out to about $15,300 for the parasite treatment and the two hip surgeries…
“Im very grateful to the Shoens for taking care of their expenses and getting them the help that they need,” Shelly said. “I’m happy they finally stepped up.” She could then devote her energies toward getting the now healthy dogs placed in forever homes.
Take A Breath
The Shoens were also glad to put this headache behind them. Joe said he was glad to be able to again focus on his wife in her recovery and raising their three children. “She’s trying to make sure she’s alive to see her son graduate from high school,” said Joe. He thought the conflict ultimately wasn’t about the money. “It has to do with emotions and two ladies who love dogs who somehow got cross with each other. You’ve probably seen a lot of misunderstandings on social media. We’d all do well to count to three before we start posting.”