How do you measure a life…

If you are familiar with the Broadway play RENT, you know the song called “Seasons of Love”, which tells us we measure a life in love. Some tell us a life is measured by accomplishments, friendships, success, family… the list goes on. A favorite quote comes from Winston Churchill when he said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Brenda Carver, by every measure, had a wonderful life. Brenda was an outstanding realtor for which she had won awards and held multiple volunteer leadership positions. She loved ballroom dancing and was quite accomplished at it. She had a smile that could light up a room and a bright twinkle in her eyes. She loved spending time with friends she had met through work, dancing, or those from way back in high school.

But her very best friends and constant companions were her cats: first sweet Samantha and then beautiful Keiko.

When Brenda passed in 2018, she demonstrated another way that one’s life can be measured: by creating a lasting legacy of good.

You see, Brenda was a planner. According to her dear friend Lynn, she planned everything down to the smallest detail. When she began making her final plans, she knew her legacy would be impactful and that she wanted to choose two charities she had researched and trusted to use the money wisely. Brenda discussed her plans with the friend she had selected as Executrix.

She created her will and in it made two transformational gifts: one to the New Hampshire SPCA and the other to the New Hampshire Animal Rescue League in Bedford. With these gifts, Brenda ensured her legacy would be caring for animals right here in her beloved home state of New Hampshire.

Brenda’s gift was completely unexpected as we had never had the pleasure of meeting her personally. Through the process of the settlement of her estate, we got to know her through her friend. We learned she loved cats but was a little uncomfortable around dogs. She was not the typical, passionate animal-lover that would be inclined to make this kind of gift. She didn’t have 52 animals, she had two, two cats that had made her life happier, more complete and that provided her with unconditional love. We can all relate to that sort of love.

Brenda’s gift came to us during our recent capital campaign, a pivotal moment in our history. Her generous gift helped us fulfill our plans for the future, helping make important transformation possible. Her gift will not only help animals and people through our services today, but a portion of her gift will help to feed and care for animals decades into the future. Now that our construction is complete, there will be a very special spot here that will bear Brenda’s name. She will always be remembered here.

As Brenda has shown us through her generosity and planning, not only do we make a life by what we give, but what we give can create a life-saving legacy. On behalf of the animals and the people we serve, we are forever grateful to this bright-eyed and generous ballroom dancer with a big heart.


Let us help you cross off an important item off your to-do list! Create an estate plan and plan for your future today.

Nearly 70% of Americans do not have a legal will, missing out on the opportunity to secure their futures and protect the important people and pets in their lives. The New Hampshire SPCA wants to make sure our entire community has what they need to plan for a successful future.

This free online tool guides you through the process of creating a legally valid will in 20 minutes or less. One unique way supporters are making their mark on the New Hampshire SPCA is by making a legacy gift to ensure we can continue to find loving homes for animals.

We’ve had many supporters in the past choose to make an impact this way, and their gifts are a large reason why we’re able to continue the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of animals in our care.