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Central Alberta animal rescue group creates ‘bucket list’ for Gramps, senior dog with cancer

Central Alberta animal rescue group helps fulfill dying dog’s wishes
WATCH: Saving Grace Animal Rescue Society is making sure a 10-year-old dog with cancer will get the chance to do all the things he never got to do in his life. The group has created a bucket list for the cute canine who has lived his entire life outdoors, and they've been checking off items over the last week. Deb Matejicka reports.

Erin Deems first met Gramps nearly five years ago.  Back then he was known as “Fatso” and she was working as a volunteer for the Alberta spay and neuter task force.

“He was the first dog at the first house we ever stopped at and so I memorized his name, I was so excited.

“I went back every couple months just to visit him and you know, make sure he had everything that he needed,” Deems said.

Deems had also just started the Saving Grace Animal Rescue Society in Alix, a small town about 200 kilometres northeast of Calgary.

Her work with Saving Grace and it’s surrounding communities would continue to bring her and Gramps together regularly.

After her last visit, Deems brought Gramps back to Saving Grace permanently.

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She had noticed he had lost weight and there was a growth on his mouth.

Gramps had lived his entire life outside but as a senior dog with obvious health issues, so his owners agreed to let Deems take him and provide him with the care they weren’t able to.

Gramps’ bucket list: animal rescue group gives elderly Alberta dog a grand goodbye
Gramps’ bucket list: animal rescue group gives elderly Alberta dog a grand goodbye

Deems immediately took Gramps to a veterinarian who diagnosed the pooch with cancer.

“We’ve just been trying to do everything we can to keep him as comfortable as possible and have the most fun that he can have,” said Deems.

“That’s why we created Gramp’s Bucket List because we thought, ‘what would a dog like to do in their lifetime and what probably hasn’t he had the opportunity to do?'”, she said.

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“He’s [already] had walks in the park, snuggles by the water, he’s had an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen.”

Gramps has only been with Saving Grace for about a week, but after the organization posted his story on social media, more bucket list suggestions came in.

“We have to go to Starbucks and get a pup-accino, we have to make him his own steak and let him have that for a dinner.

“We’re going to try take a trip to the mountains just to let him explore and sniff whatever he wants,” Deems said.

Gramps’ list also included a trip to Calgary where he made a guest appearance on Global News at Noon Calgary and was then the star of his own personal photo shoot.

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The big city trip also included a stop at Fairplay Pet Supplies where Gramps was spoiled with a basket full of treats, new socks, a huge stuffie and a brand new collar and leash.

“I think the old dogs have stories to tell us,” said Fairplay’s Christine Nurse who follows Saving Grace on Facebook and wanted to help fulfill Gramps’ bucket list.

“I don’t think they should be discarded… we should have them in our lives.”

Nurse also gave Gramps a brand new bed that will help with another item on his list that he was able to check off as soon as Deems took him home a little over a week ago.

For the first time in his life, Gramps was allowed to sleep indoors.

“He deserves to have his indoor time for the last few years of his life, or however long we have,” said Deems.