A bucket list isn’t something you often hear about when referring to animals. After all, pets can’t talk to you and tell you the things they want to do before they die.
However, one 25-year-old pet owner has proven that if you know and love your pet, you don’t need to speak the same language.
Lauren Watt found out her beloved English mastiff Gizelle was dying of bone cancer in the summer of 2014. She noticed that the 160-pound dog wasn’t getting around as well as she used to. A constant limp plagued her wherever she went, and Watt knew she had to take the dog to a veterinarian.
“I was so upset,” Watt said. “But she’s a really sensitive dog, so I kind of had to try and be strong for her and not let her see me upset because she’s the type of dog that could just know when I was and I didn’t want her to be sad.”
ABC 7 reports that Watt decided the best way to handle her sadness and perhaps add some quality time to Gizelle’s shortened life was to plan a bucket list adventure for the two of them.
“Over the weeks that followed, they hit the road, traveling to Maine for lobsters, going for canoe trips and indulging in treats like donuts and ice cream,” the news site stated.
“At that point, all the ‘oh, my dog should be on a diet’ just goes out that window and you’re just like ‘have a steak!'” Watt said.
Watt was visiting her home state of Tennessee seven years ago when she came upon the mastiff puppy. The two quickly became inseparable and Gizelle ended up following Watt everywhere she went from that day forward, even to Watt’s apartment in New York.
“I just fell in love with her immediately,” Watt told ABC. “It was one of those situations where you just go to look and the next thing you know you’re coming home with a new puppy. She’s kind of been my best friend ever since.”
Watt documented the pair’s adventures on Instagram, and the journey really did the trick, not just in lengthening Gizelle’s lifespan — she died on January 7 after the vet estimated she would be gone long before the holidays — but also in helping Watt deal with the heartache of losing not just an animal, but a true family member.
RIP, Gizelle, and best wishes to Lauren as she deals with her loss. What’s on your pet’s bucket list? How have you been able to cope with the loss of an animal? Share your thoughts in our comments section.