Loving Owner Makes Bucket List for Dog with Cancer

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Riina Cooke was destroyed when she found out her nine-year-old boxer Romeo had inoperable bone cancer.  But rather than grieve before his time is up, she is making sure Romeo has some amazing adventures in his final days.

“He’s been my best friend.  I couldn’t ask for a better dog,” Riina said in an interview with CBC.  “He’s my first dog, so it’s just been really tough watching him go like this.”

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The British Columbia resident had taken Romeo into the vet to have skin cancer removed, and she asked for an X-ray to be taken of his hind end because he had been favoring his back left leg.  It was revealed that Romeo had a tumor growing in his femur.  The cancer is very aggressive, and because of other health issues, amputation isn’t an option.

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“I was upset for a few days, and I cried and felt sorry for him, and then I just snapped out of it and said, ‘ok, let’s make this a positive, fun experience,’ and then I just kind of came up with the bucket list.”

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Riina has been adding to the list, and every few days they cross something off.  Romeo loves police cars, so they were able to spend some time in one.

“Since he was a puppy, every time he hears a siren he gets really excited and he’ll howl, so I thought that’d be cool to go hang out in a police car and go listen to the sirens up close and howl, and sit in a fire truck, too.”

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Romeo met Bif Naked, a cancer survivor and animal lover.  He’s also had a steak cake, a beer in a pub and a spa day with a paw-dicure for his ninth birthday.  On Saturday he’ll have a birthday party at a park with his “bestie boxers.”

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She believes the bucket list is not only to give Romeo the best last days he could have, but it’s also helping to deal with the impending grief of losing him.

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“It’s bittersweet… Doing this stuff with him has been a good bonding experience for us, and it’s creating a lot of new memories,” Riina said.  “I think a bucket list is great for anyone who loves their dog like I love Romeo, and it gives you a lot of hope and happiness watching them go in a positive, happy way and have some adventures and create new memories.

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

To follow Romeo’s journey, become a fan on his Facebook page.





4 thoughts on “Loving Owner Makes Bucket List for Dog with Cancer”

  1. Your dog is so lucky to have you as his owner, you’ve given him a wonderful life filled with so much love and he’s returned it 10-fold. Enjoy every minute, I love the fire truck pic. Sweet.

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful dog-owner and dog. Everyone with a pet should show this much love and concern for our animal companions.

  3. You are a wonderful doggie parent
    and decent and compassionate
    human being.

    You truly are the person that your
    dog thinks you are …In your particular
    case I am confident that he KNOWS it.

    You were both blessed being part of
    each others lives and have become
    better “people” because of this situation.

    Studies are beginning to suggest that
    “Dogs are People” too.

    I have known this for a very long time
    as have you !

    Keep well and enjoy your remaining
    time with your BFF.

  4. Thanks for answering my post. I totally agree with you that Boxers are the best breed. They are caring, protective, and just all around fun dog’s. It is so great that your doing fun things with him, I really feel your pain so please keep me posted on his progress, my boxer Casey had her ups and downs but like I said she lost her battle about 4 years ago. But Jenny is doing fine and we’ll keep praying for her, and now Romeo and yourselves. God Bless you, your love for him shows and he knows it


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