I’ve always mostly been a “live for today” or “one day at a time” person. I’m not always big into birthday or anniversary celebrations, or certain holidays like Valentine’s Day. I feel like every day should be a celebration of love and life. I tell my hubby I love him every day and from time to time we give each other gifts for no reason other than that. Sometimes we’ll celebrate birthdays and our anniversary, but not always. I find some of these made up days like “Spoil Your Pet Day” or “Love Your Pet Day” to be kind of silly (though I see nothing wrong if other people want to celebrate them). My pets are loved and spoiled every day, and we celebrate their lives every day, not just on their birthdays. It’s fun to do special things on those days sometimes, but mostly I don’t feel the need. They get toys, treats, love, and fun every day.
Along the same lines, Sheba’s recent cancer scare had me thinking about bucket lists. I wondered if I should make a list of things that Sheba might like to do. Right now, she is doing great and I certainly don’t feel any urgency in that department. It’s easier to put out of my mind that her cancer could come back in the form of another tumor, or show up elsewhere, now that she has healed from her surgery and her fur is slowly growing back. We can’t get complacent though, we have to keep a close eye on that area for any signs that the cancer was not all removed.
However, shouldn’t we be living life to the fullest, and doing new and fun things every day anyway? Especially since both Cricket and Sheba are over 10 years old now, of course we should. It’s easy though to get caught up in every day obligations, like jobs, taking care of homes, and family commitments, and to forget to take some time to just relax and have some fun with the pets. That’s why I think some of these special days and things like bucket lists are a good idea. Even though we may not celebrate especially on those days, or follow a bucket list to the letter, they serve as great reminders not to get too caught up in the drudgery of every day life, but take time to “smell the roses”.
In that spirit, I decided I would write Sheba a bucket list, just as a guideline and a place to go when I need a reminder of something fun we wanted to do. One of the first things I thought of was taking her to the ocean. None of our dogs have ever been there but I’ve seen other dogs there and doesn’t it look like fun for them? Our seacoast is about 2 1/2 hours away and that’s where I ran into trouble with that idea (along with the fact that our beaches aren’t especially dog friendly). Neither Sheba or Cricket like to ride in the car. Sheba is a bit better than Cricket….she lies quietly in the back just looking miserable while Cricket fidgets around and shakes like a leaf.
I know this is our fault. When they were younger, we took them more places, but as we’ve gotten older and for a while having four dogs, we stopped doing that so much. My hubby and I are homebodies, and we’ve never traveled far with the pets. We’re not even travelers ourselves, we might take a vacation every few years or so, but each time we do they get shorter and shorter. The times we went away on fun trips to Daytona and Texas, we enjoyed them immensely, but I was also very homesick towards the end of each trip. We used to camp years ago, but it wasn’t long before we had parked our camper at one campground and made that into our second home. That was before Sheba and Cricket though.
I’m going way out of my comfort zone going to the BlogPaws conference in May. I know I won’t regret it for a minute, but it’s difficult, and that makes me wonder if it would be good or bad for Sheba to take her out of her comfort zone by taking her for a long ride in the car. So I tabled the ocean for now and decided it might be better to try to take her to someplace closer like perhaps a cabin on a lake where she could do lots of swimming. So that is first on our list, and here’s the other things I came up with and a little about each. Many things on this list will be for Cricket and Luke as well, but they are not very social dogs so some might not be possible for them.
Sheba’s Bucket List:
- Stay overnight at a lake cabin with lots of swimming.
- Go for a ride to get ice cream (yes, we are the worst pet parents in the world because we have never done this).
- Go apple picking in the fall (we did this with Kobi when he got older and he loved it, and I have the best memories of that trip).
- Get a special drawing done of her.
- Lots of walks and even some easier hikes (with her arthritis we avoid steep hikes). Lots of swimming too!
- New toys to de-stuff (I just wish I could find a stuffed toy that did not have a squeaker in it, because I worry about her or Luke swallowing one of those).
- Dress up for Halloween. I didn’t think she would like to do this, but she took to wearing that sweater so well I think she might be OK with it.
- Get a massage. I’d like to learn how to give a massage to the dogs myself, and I’m not sure if anyone in our area does this but I’m going to find out.
- She wants a real swimming pool that she can swim in! Yes, the Momz has been wanting a pool for herself and them too, but whenever I bring the subject up to the Dadz I get a very negative response. But last night I brought it up and he didn’t shoot me down immediately! We recently cleared an area of our yard where we could possibly put one, but honestly, I’m not sure we can afford one. We’ll see.
The bottom line here is that we need to live each day to the fullest. As much as we hate to think it, each day could be our last. We lost our Lab mix Maggie to a tragic accident when she was only 5 years old, so we know only too well that you just never know. Sheba is a happy dog, she loves her home, and she’d probably be just as happy to just keep living her life exactly as it is…..playing ball, playing with her siblings, and taking nice walks one-on-one with Mom. We are lucky to have a very large play yard for the dogs, and we all love it. We’ll keep doing all of those things of course, and try to throw in a few of these different fun things too.
Do you have a bucket list for your older or terminally ill pet, or do you just strive to live each day as it comes and make the most of it?
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
This was a great post! I love the bucket list and glad you are going to try and do them. I didn’t necessary do the bucket list with Norman after I found out he was going to die soon but I did every free day that I had took him back to his favorite places and took pictures of him there so I could have some recent memories of his places. I am so glad that I did that and it helped me through his passing. I think you should check into the Adaptil collar or spray and try the dogs in the car on a short trip and hopefully it will work and you can take them to the beach.
Oh, and you got the most wonderful pictures of you with Norman and all of the dogs. I might have to add that to the list!
I will look into Adaptil too. That sounds like something that might help Luke with some of his fears as well?
What a lovely post. The cottage Barley and I stayed at in when we went on our MA literary adventure last summer isn’t on a lake, but they had a map of several good swimming places for dogs nearby–we didn’t try them out since Diva Dog doesn’t like to get wet, but it was a great adventure location and they had contact info for a massage therapist for dogs, too, with special deals for people in the cottage!
Oh, I remember your posts about that trip, and it sounds like you found a wonderful place. We have a lot of lakes and ponds in the area where we live, but finding places where the dogs can go is more difficult. I might have to check out where you were again, it might not be too far of a drive for us.
The website for the cottage we stayed in is Cavaliercottage.com–it’s tiny (but we were on the go so much that didn’t matter much), but very dog friendly and there are lots of great areas to explore for humans and for dogs. We found several different cottages on VRBO.com, though, and you can filter your search to pet friendly options 🙂
Thank you for the info, Beth! I will definitely check out both of those websites (we don’t need anything big either). I hadn’t heard of VRBO but had briefly checked FidoFriendly and Go Pet Friendly, but I need to narrow down where we’re going to make it easier! It’s good to have another option for checking.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Great post, Jan! We are like two peas in a pod when it comes to being homebodies. Of course, being fully retired and having a dog with IBD tends to limit one’s finances a bit; but I’d rather stay home with the dogs (and hubby) than go somewhere without them anyway. When I was at my last job, we were required to spend a week at the headquarters and I hated it. The only saving grace was that my co-workers, who are also two of my closest friends, were there with me so it took some of the edge off my homesickness. Now that I don’t have to travel any more, I’m happy to just stay put. All 3 of my girls are good in the car for short trips, but we can’t take them all at the same time unless we use both vehicles, and none of them like the truck.
I’m so glad to hear I have some fellow homebodies out there! I like to occasionally go away with the girls….one night only most of the time and I know my hubby is home caring for the dogs!
I have a close friend that will be traveling with me to BlogPaws and I know that’s going to make it so much easier, but I’ll still be homesick.
It’s lovely to spend quality time together and have fun!
I’ve been to the seaside and it’s fun, but I generally prefer to go to a lake because it’s easier and safer to swim than in the sea. And I’m always disappointed that the sea tastes so bad – I like to drink the water I’m swimming in!
I’ve heard drinking too much sea water can upset the belly too! Sheba can be timid sometimes, and I also worry the waves might scare her. But I know she loves swimming in a lake so I do think that’s a safer bet.
Christina Berry says
This is a really great post! I created a bucket list for Nike a year or so ago, but sadly, she’s so reactive and I imagine we’ll be unable to do many of the things on the list. A girl can dream, though, right?
I hope Sheba gets to do all the fun things on her bucket list! And maybe Luke and Cricket will join her for a few, and it’ll be a real family affair! Good luck ! 🙂
Thank you, Christina! I can totally relate to your bucket list for Nike. I had huge plans for Luke when we got him, and now he is turning out to be shy and reactive, so I’ve had to adjust those plans. But there are still some things he can do with his sisters and we’ll try to be sure he and Cricket get to experience some of the fun things as well.
My thinking is that when we make a regular effort to give our pets the best life possible, there can be little room for regret. “Best life” doesn’t have to include adventures or crazy stuff, but just daily activities, interaction, love, proper care, etc.
I think your list is a fantastic idea. It’s a great way to have something to remind you of an activity when you get in a rut or when Sheba seems a little bored. With the trip to the ocean I guess you’d have to decide whether it’s worth the long car ride there and back for Sheba and if she’d really enjoy the ocean any more than she’d enjoy something fun closer to home. Maybe a pizza party! 🙂
A pizza party sounds fun!
I also think that taking her to the ocean might be something I want to do, but not necessarily what she would choose. I try to keep that in mind as well.
Nice post, Jan! And while on the one hand I think that you may be right that Sheba is probably perfectly happy with no bucket list, and of course loves her life as it is-I can’t help but remember the couple of years that we went to a camp on a lake (our choice of vacation not only for us, but exactly this, thinking it would make Bear happy and was somewhere we could take him along with us!) and how happy we all were with that! Bear just loved swimming in that lake/pond and we did one hike as well as numerous walks in the woods, etc-and those are some of my greatest memories of time with my Bear!
I also always loved the thought of the doggies enjoying the ocean, but yes, that is a consideration in how far away it is.
But so also, the ice cream ranks next as much less planning/hassle/money, that I bet Sheba would love, lol!! 🙂
I always remember your trip to the lake with Bear, and how much he loved it. Now I just need to find a place….I’m always asking you where that was, but you don’t remember! LOL
2 Brown Dawgs says
Instead of a pool. I bet Sheba would like a pond. *brown dawgs nod yes* lol That is a great list. I am pretty sure they make stuffed toys with no squeakers. I know Thunder’s breeder has bought them for her dogs from vendors at some dog shows. Sorry I am not sure of brand.
Yes, pond!! Before we built our house here, there were plans to put a pond in down below us. I’m so disappointed they never did it. I’d love to do it ourselves, but may need to win the lottery first!
I’ll keep looking for those elusive toys! They make plenty of toys with no stuffing, but no squeakers is harder to find.
Wonderful post! I like the simple and fun things on Sheba’s bucket list like going for a ride to get ice cream. Meaningful things don’t always have to be elaborate or expensive. It’s the small moments that make events meaningful. 🙂
It’s so true! Our trip taking Kobi apple picking was so simple, yet it left us with the best memories of how much he enjoyed himself and his one on one time with my hubby and me.
The Island Cats says
What an important post. We’re glad you made a bucket list for Sheba and we hope she gets to do all of those things and then some!
Thank you, I hope so too, and I’ll keep you posted!
Dolly the Doxie says
Mom is a huge home body too, dad is even worse, she can’t get him to go anywhere. So we understand and think its a great idea to make sure you get to do things with your pets so you don’t have any regrets when they are gone. Mom says the blog is what motivates her to do things with me so that she has something to write about, she never wants to take me for granted. But she thinks I take her for granted and Taffy has been a huge wake up call! You don’t think Luke would do good at Blogpaws? He’s the youngest I think he would adapt. Love Dolly
Oh, I am SO glad to hear that your Mom and Dad are like us, Dolly! I know so many people that travel a lot and I always feel weird that I just don’t want to much.
It is true….the blog motivates me to do so much more, and to capture all of those things in photos as well.
Luke would love the drive to BlogPaws, but he does not love strangers. I’m hoping he’ll outgrow that at some point as we’re working with him on it, so maybe someday!
Yes I agree, live each day to the fullest and appreciate every moment we have with our loved ones. Those memories help us get through the difficult times and also create fuller lives for everyone. Insightful post!
Thank you! Sometimes it’s just simple things too….taking Kobi apple picking is one of my best memories of his life towards the end.
It’s a great idea. To make a list of fun things to do, and not wait until it’s too late. I think for Sampson he would be so happy to take wood walks and get out to see other people.
Only the Lord knows that would make Delilah happy. LOL I hope you do so of these things with your pups and that you will share them here.
I will definitely share things as we do them.
Seeing more people is something I think Sheba will enjoy too, so hopefully we will as we do some of these things. Luke enjoys riding, but not people, and Cricket? Seriously, as long as she can play ball I think she’s happy as a clam! But I know both of them will definitely like the ice cream too!
What a wonderful list of things to do!
Caren Gittleman says
I absolutely LOVED this post, your reasons behind it, your bucket list, EVERYTHING!!!!
Your pets are lucky to have you (and your husband is lucky too!)
You mean I am going to get to meet you at BlogPaws?
I hope so!
Thank you so much, Caren!!!
Yes, we will get to meet at BlogPaws and I can’t wait to meet you! xo
That’s a great idea. As Jack & Maggie get older I think along the same lines. Maybe I should really write it down. Good advice.
I figure it certainly can’t hurt to have a list, even if we don’t ultimately get to do them all.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
What a great post! I think you’ve hit on something very special for many of us. Let’s not always “wait” for a significant emotional experience to occur to trigger our thinking that we should do something wonderful for our pets. I love all your ideas for Sheba, and can’t wait to hear about each and every one of them!
I will definitely be sharing about each one of them! Thank you, Cathy.
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
I love this post. While my life is in chaos with the house in the market, it’s an excellent reminder to not wait until things settle down before making the most of the day.
Sunday I had to get Honey out of the house for a showing and I figured I’d just go somewhere with her for 45 minutes or so. But instead, we walked 3-4 miles and visited the lake shore. Why not take advantage of circumstances to follow your wisdom to make every day count?
BTW, I recently got Honey an unusual “stuffy” that she loves. Maybe Sheba would too? It’s a fleece penguin whose stuffing is an empty plastic bottle. Honey loves the noise and it’s not as dangerous as a small, plastic squeaky. We found ours at Target.
It’s so true….like I keep waiting for the weather to get better to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. I gave up on that and just got out and walked anyway!
I have seen those toys with the plastic bottles in them…maybe I’ll have to give one a try. She might just like it, even if there isn’t stuffing to pull out (and I’ll be far less nervous).
easy rider says
I’m with you…every day we have together is like a gift, so we should celebrate it with some small things to show each other how much we love them :o) It’s an interesting thought about that comfort zone, I have some doubts now too if I do Easy really a favor when I take him to places where we need the car… he hates that rolling cage too and it’s always a drama… we can only ride to outdoor places because after having that hairy 80 lbs on my lap I don’t look like the common visitors of the Ritz :o)
BOL….I’m picturing Easy riding on your lap!! Cricket always wants to be on my lap too, but she only weighs 22 pounds! I think if the car ride is not too long and ends at something fun, it’s not so bad for them (as long as it’s not too long). I do take Sheba in the car to go some places fairly close to swim or walk, and I think she’s a bit more comfortable on the ride back than she was on the ride out.
Alix Mitchell says
I love this post! I’ve actually been thinking about writing down a bucket list like you, just to have something to reference to. My hope would be that we can do everything at a nice pace well ahead of any drastic health changes. I love the simple things you listed like getting ice cream. I’ve never done that either and think I’m going to add it 🙂
I’m so glad to hear we’re not the only ones who haven’t taken our dogs to get ice cream!
I think it’s definitely a good idea to write a bucket list before there is any real reason to….that goes along well with living life to the fullest every day, not waiting for something bad to happen as motivation.
I like the idea of a bucket list for pets. I think I’ll be making one for my 10-year old, Benji. Thx for the idea! Sheba looks very happy with her life regardless. 🙂
I’d love to hear what’s on Benji’s bucket list! If he likes other dogs, maybe he and Sheba could do some things together! 🙂 Sheba is a happy girl but she deserves some special treats too.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
This was a really great post! I think it is definitely important to live life to the fullest, and there are far too many times where I find myself thinking how quick my kids are growing, and my fur babies too. There is so much I could be doing that I am not, but I just have to get off my butt and do it!!! Thanks for the eye opener!!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thank you, Jenna! I’m glad if this inspired you to do a little more fun stuff. It has to be hard with children and pets….I find just three dogs and two cats keeps me crazy busy.
We try to make the most of each day we have and with Katie we are thankful for each day she is with us. Some days we think she has many years left and others we don’t know if she will be here for her birthday this year. It is tough. So glad you are going to BlogPaws, can’t wait to meet you! Mom says going alone her first time was the best because there was so much to see, do, and figure out. Now she has to focus on Bailie and I a lot, but she is happy to have us along.
I think it’s a good idea to go to BlogPaws without the pets for the first time. Even if I thought any of mine would travel that far, I’d want to be able to experience everything the first time without having to worry about their comfort too. I can’t wait to meet all of you!
It’s tough when the pets are older and you know that time might be limited. I have high hopes that Sheba’s cancer won’t return and that’ she’ll be with us a few more years.