What is on Your Dog’s Life List?

Life lists, bucket lists, to conquer lists, or reaper lists (talk about morbid, yikes!) – whatever you call them, they all amount to the same thing: a list of things you want to achieve with the time you have left. I’ve been a little obsessed with mine for some time, ever since I was originally inspired by Mighty Girl quite a few years ago. I don’t update it all the time but I like to go back occasionally to cross things off or add new ideas. It has evolved itself slowly and changes all the time.

But I digress.

Yesterday I read an article about a little boy in Manitoba who started a life list for his long-time service dog, Bingo. He has called it Bingo’s “Lick It List.” It all began when the thirteen-year old Jack Russell was diagnosed with canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome and was not given very long to live.  Because Bingo had saved the boy’s life multiple times in her short life, he wanted to make her last days special. Among the items on the list is getting Bingo treats from around the world.

It’s a bittersweet subject, I know, but I was touched by the story and had to share it. It also got me thinking about my childhood dog’s final days. I wish I had done more for her, in celebration of all she had brought to my young life. On a more positive note, it also reminds me to pay more attention to the time I have with my dog now, to treat each day with her life the gift it truly is.

If Shiva was going to write a life list, I wonder what things she would include. Does she have any goals she would like to achieve, any proverbial mountains she would like to climb? What kind of things would a dog consider accomplishments?

I doubt she wants to swim with the dolphins, a popular item on most human lists. Maybe she wants to finally get the cat to play with her or learn how to open the refrigerator. Or perhaps she dreams of one day visiting every off-leash dog park in North America.

In reality I am sure canine wishes are much more mundane. Time with family, a good chew toy, maybe a dip in the lake every once in a while, and most dogs are pretty happy. They know how to find the biggest joy in the simplest of things. Most days if I could ask Shiva what she wanted to do, she would probably just say “hang out with you!” She doesn’t care about checking items off a list or traveling to exotic locales. I am sure Bingo is content to spend her final days the way she has most of her life – at home with the boy she loves.

Regardless, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to think about. What do you think would be on your dog’s “lick it list”?

24 thoughts on “What is on Your Dog’s Life List?

  1. Hurley’s Lick It List would be filled with all the food he’d like to steal from the counter in his lifetime. 🙂 He’s crossing items off, one at a time!

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  2. I’m not sure…Blueberry is pretty spoiled and like Shiva has a pretty sweet life. She gets joy out of just accompanying me on routine errands; as long as she is with me, she’s having a good time. Maybe she would like to one day catch a rabbit – although I would like to think she’d just give it a good tongue-cleaning and wouldn’t harm it.

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  3. Great post… I need to make an official list and keep track of where I put it lol. Anyway, what would be on Luna’s list? Running the woods and fields till she drops in search of birds… aka it would be amazing if I could take her out west to hunt. I think this is something chris and I will have to put on the list for both our dogs, and us really. Maybe make it a vacation one year when they are both done with training. They both LOVE to hunt so I think a day of hunting lots of birds would be perfect in their world.
    I also think Luna being allowed to eat an entire raw chicken would be up there on her list too… she has not enjoyed me stopping her during her meals to save the rest for later.
    Basically anything that has no time limit and involves exploring the woods/fields is a safe bet for the list. maybe one day we can check that one off at least.
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  4. I think you’re right at the end – dog’s aren’t thinking about what they’d like to do and other ‘what if’ situations – they’re always busy looking for the best in the present and enjoying the moment, rather than dreaming of what could be.

    However, I’m sure if you could have that conversation, freedom to chase bunnies in an open field, a swim in the ocean, and lots of raw bones and snow to eat would top lists for both Moses and Alma.

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  5. I am sure Kuster’s list is pretty short and all involves balls of some sort. Blueberry dreams of being an only dog. Morgan’s dream would be to finally catch that darned rabbit out in the yard. Bunny’s dream would be for all her favorite people to go with her on some big trip.

    I thought a lot about canine bucket lists in the last few years. I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder it with Treat because it was five weeks from when she first had problems to when she died, but I did think about it with Hawk some and definitely with Lilac. I wanted no regrets when they were gone, and I think we mostly reached that goal. It’s hard to see your dog getting older or go through an illness. Those little goals can help a lot!

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  6. Now that Cali is 13 1/2 my hubby and I talk about this a lot. Makes me tear up just typing this. 😦 Lots of love, belly rubs and time together (oh, and of course LOTS of treats . . she is 1/2 golden retriever after all!)

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  7. I think that Elka would like to have a day of walks in which she got to lead it, she got to sniff things for as long as she wanted, and there was no end to the treats. She would probably also like to have more time with all of our friends over, and perhaps an entire pizza that was only hers. I think at least one agility class should be on her list, but I don’t know if she’d add that item herself, as she doesn’t know about agility yet!

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  8. Can’t imagine Song giving up any time to do a list. She’s far too busy roaching, sleeping, eating and enjoying her walks and garden time.

    I would hope she’d say I don’t need anything else. You give me all I need.

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  9. I imagine Delilah’s lick list would include eating as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted and being allowed to run willy-nilly around the neighborhood.

    Sampson just wants to spend time with us and have his ears rubbed.

    I’m with Sue, I hope they would say I don’t need anything else, you already give me everything I need. 🙂

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  10. Top item on Silas’s list would be finishing up the demolition of the bathroom rug. (We wised up that the bathroom was one room he couldn’t be trusted in, and put up a gate.) He would also like to move to the country, where nobody would walk on his sidewalk and he could have a big yard to run in.

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  11. Gosh, this is a really good question and one that I would have to give some though too, I think I know Sherman’s lick it list, but Leroy is a tough one:)

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  12. Loved this post. I don’t have a bucket list or lick it list, but maybe I should create one. Last December I bought a big poster board and was going to create my dream board for the new year. Fell to to the side as I got busy with other things. Maybe I need to pick it up again. I think when you state your intention publicly you start to plan for how to get to it. Don’t you think?

    Back to the topic at hand…
    Daisy – Being with me as much as possible and maybe going to a few new places she can explore. And, a belly rub every day for the rest of her life.
    Jasper – To be able to herd sheep, joggers and bikers for hours on end.
    Lady – To be safe, happy and with me. She is really happiest when she can sniff and feel safe while doing it. She would like to sign on for the belly rub thing too. (I swear that’s what she said!)

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  13. We had one week between Smokey’s diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma and when we heard the fluid in his lungs (and made the decision to put him down). On some level, we wanted to take him to the dog park to give him one last run, but that could have led to his spleen exploding (or something similar) which sounded painful, the the truth was, without Moree (who had died unexpectedly 16 months earlier) he didn’t run at the dog park like he used to. Instead, he watched over his puppy (Junebug). I do think we were able to fulfill his greatest want, that last week though- there was never a moment when there wasn’t a person home with him. We were very lucky that when neither C nor I could be there, our roommate of the time was. Since from the beginning, all he really wanted was to be next to a person and loved, I’m glad we were able to have someone always with him that last week.

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  14. What a great post!
    I think my guys would love to be able to come and go as they please. Just wander the neighborhood (safely in a world w/o cars/danger), sniff to their hearts’ content, and then come back home when they were ready to rest. Then head back out the next day…..Freedom, that’s what they’d love.

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  15. I know when we lived in a large subdivision and had a shiatsu who we had a doggie door for and no leash since he was great about just going out for a while then coming home, we found he liked to go around the neighborhood and urinate on all mailboxes, and come back home, did that daily. He also liked to hang out in our meditation room.

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