When This Family Fostered a Dog in Hospice Care, They Made Sure to Check Off Every Item on His Bucket List

All 60 items.

Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest will be honoring the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is a finalist in our “Rainbow Bridge” category. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote for Theo. To see our full list of finalists, go to rd.com/petpals and vote in each category.

Theo joined our family as a hospice foster dog in May 2020. He had been found in a parking lot and dropped off at animal control. Due to large masses all over his body, he was labeled rescue only. We offered to foster him. We weren’t prepared for how bleak things looked for this guy. Without a collar or name, we decided he needed a strong, kind name. On the way home, he became Theo.

Two animal organizations committed to funding Theo’s care. One more visit to the oncologist confirmed our concerns. They didn’t give a prognosis, but based on Theo’s spirit and wagging tail, we decided to create a bucket list for him to experience anything he might’ve missed earlier in life. After announcing the idea on Facebook we began receiving bucket list suggestions and set off an incredible 205-day adventure to complete 62 bucket list items.

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Number 37 on the list? Have people all over the world fall in love with Theo. We’ve so far heard from people in Scotland, Australia, England, German, Mexico, Italy, New Zealand, and all over the United States. People fell in love with a dog they never met, just by Theo being Theo.

Theo’s Complete Bucket List:

  1. Eat ice cream
  2. Enjoy a butcher shop bone
  3. Go on a boat ride
  4. Eat pizza
  5. Meet a unicorn (pony)
  6. Go to a drive-in movie
  7. Sworn in as an honorary police K9
  8. Go to the fire station
  9. Have a blind picnic date
  10. Meet rescued chickens, cows, goats, and pigs
  11. Pretend to be a skydiver
  12. Eat steak
  13. Have a Portillos hot dog
  14. Eat a drive-through burger
  15. Be the main model at a photoshoot
  16. Be on TV
  17. Be on the radio
  18. Have a birthday party
  19. Win the lottery
  20. Ride in a Mustang convertible
  21. Receive cards and letters from all over the world
  22. Have a Starbucks pup cup
  23. Be featured in a Dodo article
  24. Swim in a pool
  25. Fall in love with a blue octopus
  26. Wade in a lake
  27. Hang out at Shadowview Brewery
  28. Have my portrait drawn
  29. Have a beer named after me—Theo’s Octopus by Roaring Table
  30. Hike in the woods
  31. Reconnect with someone I loved
  32. Solve a Scooby-Doo Mystery
  33. Participate in taco Tuesday
  34. Attend a carillon concert in my honor
  35. Be invited to a birthday party
  36. My face on a t-shirt
  37. Have people all over the world fall in love with me
  38. Roll in the sand at the lake
  39. Meet Elvis
  40. Hang out with my Buds at Dog N Suds
  41. Fell in love with a Tortie cat named Izzy
  42. Visited a pumpkin patch
  43. Honorary HotDogger Du Jour
  44. Meet puppies
  45. Devour the area’s largest Pup Cup
  46. Have a song written about me
  47. Receive a letter from Santa
  48. Meet Santa
  49. Have my portrait painted
  50. Meet turkeys
  51. Be a Salvation Army bell ringer
  52. Uncle Theo meets his newborn baby nephew Cam
  53. Be a special guest at a holiday light show
  54. Pet supp + 28 octopuses
  55. Meet the grinch
  56. Theo on your tree -o
  57. Have someone read me a story
  58. Have my story shared in church
  59. Trade my Earth Angel Wings for Heavenly Angel Wings 😇
  60. Front page of the newspaper