“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
That’s the motto behind a Coquitlam, B.C. woman’s plan to make sure her beloved dog’s last days are filled with his favourite things.
When Riina Cooke’s dog, Romeo, was diagnosed with cancer in one of his back legs in November, the dog owner was devastated.
“Osteacarcoma is not treatable. The only treatment is amputation and the rest of his body isn’t strong enough. He wasn’t a candidate,” Cooke said.
After the initial shock, Cooke decided to make sure Romeo’s last days were filled with love, steak and fun by making a bucket list for him.
So far, Romeo has had a steak dinner from the Keg, gone to the pub with his dad, rode along in a fire truck and a police car, donated cash to the Coquitlam Animal shelter to help out other dogs, had a professional massage, tried sushi and gone on a blind date with another boxer struggling with cancer.
Romeo has even met a celebrity.
“One of my favourites was meeting Bif Naked. She is also a cancer patient and she really sympathized with him and she is a huge animal lover,” Cooke said.
WATCH: Romeo’s bucket list
Romeo celebrated his ninth birthday on Saturday with a big party, but even though his spirits are still high, Cooke said he is showing signs of slowing down.
“Right now it’s day by day. The cancer is growing and it’s bursting the bone… so I don’t think he has much longer and he’s showing signs of pain today,” she said.
Cooke hopes Romeo’s story will help others who are struggling with the same grief and inspire kindness towards animals.
“I really hope his story helps other people because to me, I don’t have children and my dog is my kid and hopefully when your dog gets diagnosed with something terminal you can make the last few days count,” she said.
PHOTOS: Romeo’s bucket list
Romeo has already inspired hundreds of people who are following his bucket list on his Facebook page.
“He is such a kind, sensitive dog, even people who are scared of dogs love him. I work with people with developmental disabilities and he comes to work with me and helps people there,” she said.
“He just has such a will to live.”