I fully admit that I cry at a whole lot of things: stories of interspecies friendships, people doing good deeds, if Rooster’s looking super cute one day. But one thing that always gets me is people doing bucket list items with their dogs or saying that final goodbye to their canine best friend.

There are many stories like this. Poh the Dog went on a grand adventure with his owners a couple years before he died and traveled across the country to put his paws in the Pacific ocean. A goodbye video told in the voice of Denali the dog is always a tearjerker (see below) and this photo series from Duke’s last day leaves me in a puddle of tears and emotions.

I didn’t know any of these dogs or their people but I know that bond between dogs and humans. And I know what it’s like to watch our pets age and eventually say goodbye. But knowing all these stories reminded me of all the good we can share with our dogs and how we can give them some amazing experiences before they cross the rainbow bridge. So I thought I’d share some ideas for a doggy bucket list.

Each dog is going to have a different bucket list before they go. Some will love to travel while others might not or might be too old/sick to make it on a long road trip. Some will just love cheeseburgers but human food might be too rich for another dog. The point is that you’ll have to personalize a list for your dog and their loves. With that in mind, here are some ideas of things you can do!

  1. Go to the beach/water! Whether it’s on the ocean or just by a lake, being at the beach is always a blast! Rooster especially loves being on the beach. We’ve taken him to many beaches along the Salish Sea and a couple on the Oregon Coast! There’s almost nothing quite like Rooster’s joy of being off leash on the Oregon Coast.
  2. Eat some treats! These treats can be cheeseburgers or waffles or apples or even a dog friendly cake. Too many treats aren’t going to be great for any dog but a couple will surely make your dog’s day!
  3. Go to a doggy spa! This can mean getting a massage (because canine massage therapists do exist!) or getting a bath and a haircut.
  4. Have a puppy party. Invite family, friends, and their canine friends to a party! I realize that to non-dog people, a party for your dog probably sounds weird. But I’m sure that I’m not the only dog obsessed person who loves this idea! Here are some great resources on throwing the best puppy party:
    1. How to throw a dog party from WikiHow
    2. How to throw a great dog party from FidoSavvy
  5. Raise funds and food for a local animal rescue (or another nonprofit!). This can be setting up an online campaign for folks to donate to or even throwing a fundraising event with your pup!
  6. Meet other animals. Not every animal is going to be okay around a dog and vice versa! Rooster has spent a lot of time around other animals and would gladly have a staring contest with any rabbit or duck. But finding the right way to spend time with animals will be important to allow for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.
  7. Make art! Molson was a golden retriever who was diagnosed with cancer last year and so, his owners decided to come up with their own bucket list. One of the items was to make some art and it looks like he had a wonderful time doing so! Regardless of how the final product comes out, making art with your pup can be fun! Just make sure to use non-toxic and dog friendly supplies (as many dog will lick and then ingest things).
  8. Go to their favorite park. Rooster spends most of his time nowadays sleeping and isn’t able to go on long adventures. But he still loves going to nearby parks for short adventures!
  9. Get a new toy. A new squeaky toy can be fun for so many dogs!

For those with senior dogs, spending some quality time with your dog before they cross the rainbow bridge is always wonderful. Whether you decide to watch movies on the couch or go on a cross country adventure, I hope you and your senior dog have a wonderful time! It can be tempting to do a huge adventure with lots of activity but sometimes, napping on the couch can be just as wonderful, especially if your pup is dealing with some health issues.

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