The worst thing about owning a dog is that they don’t live for very long. They come into our lives, carve out a loving place, and leave just when we aren’t sure how we might live without them.
Lauren Watt felt that way about Gizelle, her 160-pound English Mastiff, who was dying of bone cancer. The doctor gave her dog only a few more months to live, knowing that the cancer would spread quickly and end her life.
Watt couldn’t believe it. How could she move on? One thing, she decided, was to fill Gizelle’s last months of life with adventure. She didn’t want to spend the last days crying and sobbing as that would only distress her dog more.
They pair had already gone to college, moved from Tennessee to New York City, and grew up together…but there was more in the world, and they wanted to see it.
One of the first adventures was paddling around a lake, enjoying the outdoors and the scenery. It wasn’t a graceful trip, but it seemed to lift Gizelle’s spirits.
They visited Times Square, spent a day people-watching in Washington Square Park, traveled to Maine to eat fresh lobster, ate Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and ate the most delicious donuts. They went on a road trip with no destination, cuddled as much as possible, and went to a house party with 19 other dogs.
It helped me live in the present and see life for what it truly is: a sweet, simple, precious adventure.”
In the end, Gizelle’s last trip was to the beach on a cold, winter’s day. They were sitting together on the wet sad. It was quiet, peaceful, and she knew in her heart that it was the end. Gizelle died the next day, and her bucket list was complete.
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