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Bucket List For Dying Dog

By Dr. Andrew Jones


Riina Cooke learned her 9-year-old boxer Romeo had inoperable bone cancer, and she was devastated.

She is doing something so very admirable and unique..

Cooke created a bucket list for Romeo, and has been filling his last days with adventures.

Riding in a firetruck, a police car, a spa day, a massage, a prime restaurant meal: ‘Keg Steak dinner’

Cooke says the bucket list is as much about showing Romeo a good time, as it is about dealing with her grief.

“I think he’s helped a lot of people in a similar position,” said Cooke. “I’m hoping our situation will bring some light to other people who are going through the same thing.”

This is a wonderful video she put together honoring Romeo:

Dr Andrew J

P.S. I love this story, HOW much they love Romeo, and how this helps Rina and her partner deal with their grief.

I vividly remember when my last dog Hoochie was diagnosed with cancer- you question why him, but want to value the time you have left. Hoochie ate whatever he wanted in that last 3 weeks, we were at the lake, lots of walking and peeing, and he slept in our bed.

It’s hard not to be cliched, but it is true- so often you don’t fully appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

My suggestion…

Don’t wait until there is a cancer diagnosis, or other untreatable illness.

Spend quality time with your dogs, cats now.


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Topics: Cat Care, Dog Care, Pet Care | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Bucket List For Dying Dog”

  1. Avatar Mary Boyce '' Billie;; Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I lost my husband to cancer just 6 months ago in September of last year 2013, and naturally I am still grieving. He had beaten cancer once before back in 2006, but sadly it came back. Shawn died just 11 days before his 41st Birthday. The reason I mention my beloved husband is, that I have had dogs all my adult life, and I have to say that losing a pet hurts just as much as a dear loved human being. Grief knows no difference. The video and story of Romeo made me shed tears, and the young couple were (still are) totally devoted to Romeo. I would like to say to them I like millions of pet owners understand and feel your pain, and that in time when Romeo has been in Rainbow Heaven beloved memories will return, and the pain will ease greatly. Romeo had 9 wonderful years with you both, and like humans, we will all meet again, never no more to be parted from our loved ones and pets. Love to you both, you look like a lovely couple, indeed you are even without knowing you.
    Billie UK
    With love and respect to you all xxx

  2. Dr. Andrew Jones Dr. Andrew Jones Says:
    March 5th, 2014 at 5:00 am

    Well said Billie. Losing a pet is as hard, and sometimes harder than losing a family member.

    As a veterinarian you learn to manage your feelings, especially when you need to perform euthanasia regularly.

    But when it comes to your own pets, that’s when you really get it. The grief is huge, and I felt at times overwhelming.

    I love this “I would like to say to them I like millions of pet owners understand and feel your pain, and that in time when Romeo has been in Rainbow Heaven beloved memories will return, and the pain will ease greatly.”

    Thanks for sharing,

    Dr Andrew

  3. Avatar Laura P ; New York state USA Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I wanted so much to view this, but found myself engaged in an all out attack of grief. I lost my baby one year ago to what? who knows. First I was told she had bone cancer and they wanted to amputate her leg, but I refused and had a bone biopsy to confirm that it was osteoarthritis, six months later I was once again told she had bladder cancer and was told to put her down. I left that vet and searched for another. Got results that were positive, no cancer, but no one could figure out what was truly going on. Thousands of dollars spent and we just ran out of time. To know what your baby truly died from is much better than not knowing at all. I grief still to this day and can not get over that in this world of modern technology no one could come up with what was really going on. The many vets I came in contact with were nothing more than money hungry insensitive A-holes (excuse me for that), but they were. I finally came upon a vet who instantly fell in love with my baby and worked harder for me (a complete stranger at the time) to figure out what was going on. She incorporated fellow workers for help and we just ran out of time. You see, I acquired my baby nearly five (5) years ago as a rescue dog from her one an only owner, who after raising her from 8-weeks old figured out she could not take care of her anymore, but kept her Pug that had grown up with Chainey (my German Shorthair Pointer)and acquired another Pug. When Chainey came home with me she was already 5.5 yrs old and had been on Prednisone everyday of her life because of allergies. Really Now? All I did to rid her of this awful drug was to take her off of the crappy Kibbles and Bits she was on endlessly and place her on grain free-gluten free food. She was free of itching within a few short weeks. I had her for nearly five years from the time I rescued her and then out of the blue my nightmares started with her. Never has any of my dogs and cats touched my heart as much as she had, maybe because she was so abused by nothing more than stupidity on her owners part and the callousness that two small dogs are easier to take care of than a mid size one. My heart grieves for you and your loved one. I do believe so much in God and I know our loved ones are with him in His kingdom. I too know that we did all we could for them and will honor them always. God be with you and your family.

  4. Avatar Joey Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I know exactly what she is going through, I had to put my cat down because Gizmoe had cancer, he was 15 yrs old. This just brought back those memories and I cried I understand the grief she is going through. My heart goes out to her. Even typying this up still makes me cry. It’s so hard to loose your pet because they are part of your family, may Romeo rest is peace he will be waiting for you and your husband like my Gizmoe. Even though it’s been 15 years I still miss him terribly. I love my other cat too she brings comfort for me.

  5. Avatar Jean Burkhardt Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I am sitting here crying so hard. We went through a similar diagnosis with our Dobie/GSD mix Patty. We had only had her 19 months after adopting her from the shelter. She was about 6 years old and had lymphoma. She was given 3 months to live on December 18, 2006. We took her to the beach-many walks-gave her whatever she wanted to eat and tried to make the most of those months. I have to say though-our dogs are always treated with so much love and care. I wish I would have had a video though. She went to Rainbow Bridge on March 18, 2007-exactly 3 months after her diagnosis. God bless you Romeo and your Mommy & Daddy. I’m not sure if Romeo has crossed over yet but when he does-my girl and many others will be there with open paws to welcome him. You never know so treat all your family and pets as if today were the last. With LOVE!

  6. Avatar Sylvia Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I just watched this video, and I was so touched. What a wonderful couple to put together a video of their beloved dog. It made me think of my beloved Yorkshire terrier, Gus, who is still alive, but he is now a Type 1 diabetic and takes insulin 2X a day. He was a very ill boy last summer. I will be so sad, when he crosses over to Rainbow Bridge, as he has been my rock during two tragedies I endured, in the past few years.


  7. Avatar Lalonie Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Touching video I lost my beloved Chewy last year, he was only 7 years old from a bad heart, I wish i had done a video, I made a collage of photos a lock of his hair and a pawprint and the poem of over the rainbow bridge. It was a big shock there were no warning signs until the day he died, we’d been to the vet and said it was an enlarged heart. went home but he got worse so took him back and there was nothing we could do for him let alone a new heart. this video brought tears to my eyes as I thought of him.

  8. Avatar Carole Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Having lost 5 Boxers all to Mast Cell Cancers in 14 years I can understand how much Romeo’s Bucket List would help his devoted family as much as Romeo would enjoy every second of his time with his family. I was so very touched by his story, yes I cried, memories of my own furkids seemed to swamp me all together, and the tears were for them too. It must have been very hard to put that video together, but what a wonderful tribute to Romeo, many thanks to Romeo’s Mum and Dad for sharing this special boy’s story with us all, God Bless

  9. Avatar TaoJones Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Thank you, Dr. Andrews, for bringing this touching story to light. I have no doubt that everyone who’s ever loved a companion animal can relate to Rina’s sad story. Many of us have lost a beloved pet (or pets) to cancer, and the feeling of helplessness when confronted with this dread disease is devastating.

    Rina, if you ever read this, please know that your honoring Romeo with the video and creating the bucket list are inspirational acts for others in similar straits. I sincerely hope you find comfort in the following words:

    …Grieve not,
    Nor speak of me with tears,
    But laugh and talk of me
    As if I were beside you…
    I loved you so –
    ’twas Heaven here with you.

    Isla Paschal Richardson

  10. Avatar Diane Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I sit here blowing my nose, eyes now puffy…and still spilling over.
    Very heart rending and touching story. Romeo is a well loved boy and I think it’s wonderful what they are doing and the tribute they put together.
    I have a 17 (will be 18 this April) year old miniature dachshund that I love so much. He’s been such a happy, sweet boy and wonderful loving companion all these years. It wrecks me to think about the eventuality of it, but I’m grateful for every moment we’ve had and still have together.

    On another thought…I wonder if they tried or considered cannibis oil, or raw cannibis juice for Romeo. It has worked in children and adults, even late stage.
    If cancer were the issue for a dog too young to go I wouldn’t hesitate to try it.

  11. Avatar Diana Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Hi !,
    I love hairy friends and I want to share these natural remedies that really work on humans and I am sure in pets too.

    “Avocado alcoholate”
    3 avocado seeds grated (You can use the cheese grater)
    a glass jar with lid
    -Mix the ingredients and apply on skin and absorbs immediately (Do not rub). Although alcohol is cold, the remedy produces heat, relieves pain and cure arthritis and bone cancer.

    “White poplar” (Populus alba)
    Make an infusion and drink it instead water, as much as possible, in this case the sweet Romeo.

    I really wish these remedies can help anyone.

  12. Avatar Marja Says:
    March 5th, 2014 at 12:25 am

    I have lost four aged cats in the last decade. It never gets easier. I’m in tears thinking about them but joyful that they are out of pain now and in a place of peace. I have four cats now, two of them Elders, and I’m praying that they’ll all have good health and quality of life for the rest of their time with me.

    “No heaven can a heaven be, if my cat is not there to welcome me.”

    Blessings and strength and good memories to those of you who’ve lost your dear pets.

  13. Avatar Gina Says:
    March 8th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    My heart aches. Just 1 month ago we lost our 9 year old “Basserott,” half Basset and half Rottie; just 2 hrs before he was gone he was playing, eating, behaving perfectly normally. He had a cancerous tumor on his spleen, we were totally unaware of, it ruptured and he was gone. So it wasn’t possible to even consider a “bucket list,” I am so very glad you did. My oldest furry baby is 18, a Rottweiler mix,who shows no sign of slowing down, the next in line is a Pit bull mix, half pit and half, well, mix, and a 4 yr old Beagle, who because of her white face looks to be the “Ole lady” of the bunch. We know our Hermie knew only great love in his life and we did and do our best to be the best pet parents possible. Life is not the same, but then neither or we, we are so much better for having had him in our lives. Thanks for the story, the video and the tears. God bless and comfort you in your loss.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM