Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bucket List Update

All items on Hoover's bucket list are checked off, with the exception of eating bacon.

If you've watched someone die of a slow-moving disease or if you've read Tuesdays with Morrie, you know how illness gradually erodes activity. Restrictions creep into life, narrowing or limiting activity and movement. It's inexorable and so very sad to watch. But it can be handled with grace and dignity, too.

Two months ago, Hoover went swimming in a lake for the last time. He was delighted.

A month ago, he went on his last walk around the neighborhood, which he enjoyed enormously. But it took about 36 hours and lots of tramadol for him to recover from it. Now, he gets walks around our cul-de-sac. At first he protested the shortness of the walks. Now he seems to understand.

One item on his bucket list failed amusingly. We've never given Hoover a bone to chew, and he's never been interested in chew toys. He's a retriever with a very soft mouth (meaning he doesn't mangle dead birds he retrieves). When we gave him this big bone, he just carried it around and drooled. He knew it was a cool treat but had no idea what to do with it.

The vet gave Hoover between two weeks to two months to live. That was two months ago. As long as he doesn't exert himself, he is fine and doesn't even need pain medicine most days. In a real sense, this makes it hard to believe he's dying, especially when he's on full puppy alert begging for popcorn or barking at the UPS man, who as all good dogs know has come to kill us all. But the tumor is now bigger than my hand, spreading out over his whole left shoulder blade.

I'm off to buy some bacon.


  1. Seeing Hoover's happy, smiling face makes me happy & sad all at the same time...thanks for sharing his journey with us. What a cool dog he is!

  2. Let us know how he enjoys his bacon! I don't know whether to smile or to cry. Hugs and blessings to you all.

  3. Susan, Hoover may not know what to do with that bone, but something primal deep inside him is making him smile! He is such an adorable dog!

  4. Thanks for all your comments. I'll let you know about the bacon. He's getting steak tonight!

  5. Thanks for letting us share in the dignified and joyful closing of the book of Hoover's life here on earth. I believe that our merciful God knows that animals who have loved so fully and been loved so fully belong at the heavenly banquet. Perhaps with bacon and steaks available.

  6. I'm glad Hoover's still with you, for however long that may be. He looks so much like my brother's dog, Red... 16 years old, and while very much an old dog, still hanging in.

  7. I have just found your blog and Hoover... Enjoy each other while you can! I have a dog approaching her twilight years, and read your post with smiles and tears...

  8. I lost my best friend chihuahua several months ago and wonder if i had a bucket list, but we did much together in her last months. Your blog entry was a great reminder to enjoy friends when they are with us.

  9. Thanks for the comments. All dog lovers experience what we're experiencing now eventually (this isn't our first time around at all). Our furry friends don't live long enough. Hugs to all of you!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!