JoAnna Lou
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Canine Bucket List
Calif. family says goodbye to their beloved Lab, Hudson
What's on your dog's bucket list?

Saying goodbye is arguably the toughest part about sharing your life with a pet. For the Piper family, their Chocolate Labrador, Hudson, shared the joy of their first home and welcomed each of the three children into the world. So when Hudson was diagnosed with cancer and given just two to four weeks to live, the Pipers were devastated. 

To ensure that Hudson made the most of his time left, the family decided to make a canine bucket list. 

The 10-year old dog enjoyed activities that he normally wasn't allowed to do, like ride in the car with his head out the window and eat heaping pancake breakfasts. But most importantly, the list made sure that the family got to spend plenty of quality time with Hudson. They took extra walks and had dog-themed movie nights, complete with Hudson's own sleeping bag.

While the Pipers were busy preparing the bucket list, Hudson surprised them by fighting the cancer for three more months, giving the family time to complete everything on the list.

Of course, the bucket list doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye, but I know it would be therapeutic to see my pups enjoy their last days engaged in their favorite activities.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo: Steews4, flickr

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Submitted by SaraG | April 20 2010 |

I love this. Of course, isn't this how it always is. We don't pursue life with gusto until we know it is slipping away. I'm going to a bucket list for my dog BEFORE she is sick or too old to enjoy it.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 15 2012 |

thats the way to think...go for it

Submitted by Maura | April 20 2010 |

That is great! I like that they let him do things he normally wouldn't be allowed to! I guess that means i'd have to let my dogs sleep in bed with us, sniff anything and everything on walks and bringing them EVERYWHERE with me! Sounds liek a fun 3 months!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 23 2010 |

I regret not doing so much for the nine dogs I've said goodbye to in the last 30 years, but at least some got ice cream with chocolate liqueur sauce on their last day. When the younger (13) of my most recent two stopped eating after being treated for lymphoma for 45 days, I decided that both he and his long-time gal-pal, Nikki (14+) should kick the bucket together at home, so my 3rd dog, a Lab mix, could witness their passing. All three gobbled up a plate of neopolitan ice cream sandwiches with chocolate cookie dough. The two had already had their valium injections, so I was able to hug them both one more time before they slipped away on the sofa, butt to butt, as they used to sleep there in life. (The little bit of chocolte didn't seem to hurt my younger dog that one time.)
Jasmine went from Omega dog to Alpha dog that afternoon, and she couldn't be happier. I spoil her silly, and she loves every bit of it.
The bucket list for dogs is a great idea, and I shall pass it on to all my friends with dogs.

Submitted by newyorkie | April 23 2010 |

this posting just took me back to the last year we had with mr phoo, the magnificent yorkie that we were so happy to share our lives with. He moved in when he was 11 years old and seemed to rewound the clock and act like the puppy he was not allowed to be before (he was given away by acquaintances that did not want to deal with an elder dog). we were together 24/7 for the next 6 1/2 years, which including negotiating taking him in to every job I took - which is not easy in nyc. with his bigger than life personality (& yet such cool & collected demeanor), he brought so much joy to anyone who crossed his path. all through his life with us, we spent no more than one night apart: if we could not take mr phoo along, either my husband or me would always be home with him.
which made it so much harder to find out that he had cancer right before his 17th birthday, as we were getting the paper work to go on a family trip to the dominican republic in may.
it was a heartbreaking year, but i would give anything to have it back. as much as it was humanly possible, he had his bucket list: all his meal were home cooked & warm, all his favorite treats were at paws reach, not to mention all the love we had was his to take. we went on our last vacation to palm springs in october - there was nothing he loved more than trips. in a way, we tried for his bucket list at the time we took him in...
mr phoo went to the big dog run in the sky the weekend before christmas a year and a half ago & much has happened since. but wherever he is, he knows he is loved more than anything in the universe.

Submitted by Kham | May 9 2010 |

Here is a great site i made to create, manage and share your bucket list.


Check it out.

Submitted by Tara Gannon | May 21 2010 |

As my best friend, Buddy, is entering the older years for a dog his size and breed (8 yr. old, 95 lb. yellow lab), I have resolved to create and complete a Buddy bucket list, both for him and for me. From the moment we adopted him, I have wanted to spend as much time as possible with him, going for long walks followed by ample cuddle time, and just having him by my side, snoring. I am feeling now, more than ever, that I must go on as many doggy hikes, visit as many dog parks, and bake as many treats as possible in the coming years. My time with Buddy is among the most joyous times of my life. Thank you for reminding us how important it is to give our dogs all the love we can in their too-short lives.

Submitted by Jan Hill | November 9 2011 |

What a great idea. Our 12 year old has been diagnosed, we are starting on her bucket list right now!

Submitted by Jennifer | November 9 2011 |

Just the sweetest thing I've ever heard! What a great and loving family.

Submitted by Gail | August 15 2012 |

Below my feet lies Signal (named after Signal peak where he was found) The vet said he was about 2 and that was 15 years later. Everyday is a day on the bucket list for Siggy. He has one ear up and one done and looks part German Shephard and part Greyhound. My kids cant remember a time when Signal wasn't there. He has gotten me through 2 divorces and been apart of happy occasions as well. I thank him everyday for being my dog and loving me. I am not saying goodbye yet but I know it is coming soon so part of his bucket list is going to Mammoth Lakes with the 3 of us, taking family pictures and loving every minute of Signal the wonder dog!

Submitted by Anonymous | August 15 2012 |

that is truely alove & commitment to one of Gods creatures . they can teach us humans a few thing s like G ODS UNCONDITIONAL for us.that is what i learned from my son dog shadow . God bless u all

Submitted by Anonymous | August 15 2012 |

I take my great dane with me every year to the beach and this year I am taking another dane I just rescued along with us. I think every dog should see the ocean and feel the sand in their paws in their lifetime. I spend my weekends taking them fun places or staying at home baking them doggie cookies. I do not leave them overnight nor do I go for extended amounts of time away from them, other than work, which is mandatory to keep them in the lap of luxury. I think the bucket list is a great idea and I will start a list for my fur babies of things that we have not done yet so they can expand their horizons more. They are my life, my heart and soul and I owe who I am all to them so its the least I could do.

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