WEATHERFORD, Texas -- It's the type of gift that rarely happens to a rural animal shelter.

In fact, ask the staff at the Weatherford-Parker County Animal Shelter, and they'll say it's a first. "This is the largest donation we've ever gotten," said director Dustin Deel.

In November, the shelter learned it was receiving the bulk of an elderly woman's estate who had passed away. The figure comes to about $430,000.

"She didn't want anything. She just wanted it to go toward the care of the animals to make it a better stay when they're here," said Deel.

The shelter is working on a capital campaign to expand its operations.

With its capacity of some 225 animals being stretched to the limit, the gift is proving a huge lifesaver as well as a bit of a mystery that's brought a lot of questions.

"People have been asking, 'What's going on? What we're going to put the money toward? How are we going to use it?"' said Deel.

Although the director and the woman's executor know her identity, few others do. She insisted the contribution remain anonymous.

"Yeah, it was her absolute wise," said Deel, adding that she had adopted a pair of dogs from the shelter a while back when battling cancer.

"They were her children and her absolute loves," he said.

The woman's husband also was a big animal lover. He passed away a couple of years ago.

To learn more about the shelter and its expansion efforts, click here.