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Man is dogs' best friend

Hagerstown hounds inherit house, caretaker and $400,000

Hagerstown hounds inherit house, caretaker and $400,000

December 28, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? Buckshot, Katie and Obu-Jet are rolling in the money.

When Ken Kemper, the former owner of the dogs, died of cancer last year, the well-heeled hounds inherited a house in Hagerstown and $400,000 from his estate. All together, the tail-wagging trio is worth about $800,000.

The dogs live at their house on Marion Street with caretaker Roy Grady.

"They get the best care," Grady said. "They don't know they have more money than most people."

When Katie snuck out the gate last summer and was struck by a car, she received the best medical attention available, including 40 visits to the veterinarian's office to mend her broken legs and hip, Grady said. The bill was close to $6,000.

'They're the most loving dogs'

The dogs seem content just romping around the front yard. Katie and Obu-Jet, who are Lab mixes, like to lie in the grass and sun themselves, while Buckshot, who is a beagle, prefers to sit on the front porch and survey his estate.

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"They're the most loving dogs," Grady said. "That's all they live for is to give you attention and love."

Grady said he does his best to spoil the dogs, who were strays when Kemper adopted them. On Friday nights, for example, the dogs are treated to a spaghetti dinner, complete with meatballs and garlic bread.

"They love it," he said. "They know when it's coming on Friday, too. They have that time clock."

Dogs still saddened by loss

Karin Anderson, a longtime friend of Kemper and the executor of his estate, said four dogs originally were in the pack. Skye, a Jack Russell terrier, died about three weeks ago from pancreatic cancer. He is buried under a cross in the front yard.

Grady said the remaining three dogs still mope around and seem saddened by the loss of their friend.

"We all took it real bad," he said. "Katie was crying. They knew. They'd been together all the time."

Grady said Kemper lived in Vienna, Va., and owned the house in which the dogs live. Kemper worked for the Voice of America, an international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government.

When dogs die, money likely to go to charity

It was common for Kemper to return to the U.S. with stray dogs from the Middle East and other parts of the world, Grady said.

When the dogs die ? each is about 10 years old ? Anderson said she probably will ensure that their inheritance goes to an animal charity of some sort.

She said that is what Kemper would have wanted.

"He really loved animals," Anderson said. "The man's heart was so big, it needed its own ZIP code. He was a great guy."

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