Bucket List Dog Embarks on the Adventure of a Lifetime

Dog Bucket List

The loss of a pet hurts like losing a part of yourself. Many people view their dog as family, so when they hear news like their beloved canine doesn’t have much time left to live, people tend to spring into action. Before their pet’s end of life, owners cherish every moment and preserve every memory down to the last minute.

Lauren Fern Watt’s best friend Gizelle was no different. Upon hearing the diagnosis that Gizelle, her English Mastiff, had bone cancer, Lauren became devastated. Learning about cancer in dogs is never easy to process, especially after Lauren Watt had gone through her 20’s with Gizelle by her side, helping her with college, boyfriends, and moving to “The Big Apple” from Tennessee.

Instead of being overcome by grief for Gizelle’s untimely end of life, Lauren decided to take Gizelle on the adventure of a lifetime before she passed. Thus, she created a dog bucket list to explore the world with her best friend Gizelle at her side. Gizelle lived in the present and enjoyed the many wonders this world has to offer for her remaining months.

One of the highlights on their list included seeing Times Square together. Embarking at the break of dawn, they reached the city before the streets flooded with tourists and frantic workers. They watched the sunrise together in the rarely silent streets of Times Square, standing at the crossroads of the world and experiencing the magic.

Another memorable stop on their list included a day at Washington Square Park. Lauren and Gizelle branched out and talked to the interesting characters New York has to offer, such as a guy with a fish tattooed on his face and a lady who fed penguins while wearing a red kimono.

A visit to the beach during the winter concluded Gizelle’s bucket list. Lauren knew that Gizelle would not make it until Christmas; however, there they were – sitting on the snowy beach the day before the end of Gizelle’s life. Lauren reached serenity, peering at the white sky and bare trees with no birds in sight. She claims that the whole world felt lifeless, and she had finally come to terms with letting Gizelle go. Lauren realized that even though Gizelle wouldn’t physically be there, her memory would live on through her experiences. She had provided Gizelle with the best life that she could.

Gizelle and Lauren’s final adventure as they sit on the beach during the winter.
Photo by Lauren Watt

I have first-hand experience with the loss of a pet, and found Lauren Watt’s dog bucket list to be an extremely helpful method in assisting with the grieving process. Your pet leaves a permanent footprint in your heart, and a bucket list for dogs seems to make the most of a beloved dog’s footprints.

When my miniature poodle Max passed away last year at the age of sixteen, I felt as though I truly lost my best friend. I had Max since I was two years old, and I wasn’t prepared for life without him. For the last year of his life, he had prominent symptoms of cancer. In dogs, once the cancer takes hold, they become sluggish, have a loss of appetite, and lack the desire to even go outside. Towards the dog’s end of life, sometimes all you can do is be there and treasure every minute.

After discovering Max has a tumor in his brain, my family and I decided to end his suffering. My mother and father took him to the vet to have him euthanized and watched him drift peacefully to sleep. We allowed him to move on, even though we weren’t ready to lose him. After giving him one kiss goodbye, we let him truly rest in peace, knowing that even though he was gone, he would be a part of our minds and hearts forever. My family decided to honor Max by getting him cremated and creating a clay paw print, allowing us to have a memorial of him.

Max pawprint - Dog Bucket List

Max’s clay paw print.
(Photo by Michael Polissky)

Whether writing a dog bucket list, creating a memorial for a dog that has passed away, or cherishing time with other canine companions, there is no right way to deal with the loss of a pet.

You cannot let your own grief take up more room in your heart than the wonderful memories you shared with your pet. After the end of a loved one’s life, they may be gone, but they are never forgotten. The pet you loved that has passed away is always there in spirit, preserved through the countless adventures you experienced together. They create an Everlasting Pawprint on your soul.

To learn more about symptoms of cancer in dogs visit: the National Canine Cancer Foundation website.

About Sasha Polissky

Pursuing her BA in English with a minor in business, Sasha Polissky provides administrative and blogging support. Her interests include writing, photography, singing, and guitar, and she speaks English, Russian, and Spanish. She is involved Lady Spirit Hunters, and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and writes to combine passion and information. Ms. Polissky’s dedication to Everlasting Footprint stems from the loss of her two grandmothers and grandfather to cancer. She uses her experience with loss to write and connect the Everlasting Footprint community.

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