Lifestyle Pets Bucket List Pit Bull Given 3 Months to Live Still Enjoying His Adventures 1 Year Later So far, Samson has enjoyed In-N-Out, walked the Golden Gate Bridge and had a dog party By Kelli Bender Kelli Bender Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards. Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far. People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 18, 2018 04:38 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Courtesy Petco Foundation This Samson’s strength knows no bounds. Not long ago, the 80-lb. pit bull pup was sitting in an Oakland Animal Services shelter looking for a special home. “Samson wasn’t looking for a typical foster home: he was looking for hospice. He had been diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma, a deadly canine cancer. He was receiving free treatment and electro-chemo from an area vet, but the prognosis wasn’t good. Samson had three months to live, tops,” Julianne Chai told the Petco Foundation. This prognosis didn’t prevent Julianne and her boyfriend Dan from taking a chance on Samson last December and committing to giving the dog the best three months possible. From the beginning, everything has been better than expected for Samson and his new family. The big dog got along perfectly with the couple’s other pup, 27-lb. Holly the terrier mix. Courtesy Petco Foundation “He became the perfect Yang to Holly’s Yin. Where she was shy, stand-offish, and skeptical, Samson was trusting, affectionate, and giving. He brought her out of her shell and helped her gain confidence. Each day with Samson, our leap of faith was rewarded in ways we never anticipated,” Julianne added. It took only a few weeks for Julianne, Dan and Holly to fall “utterly in love” with the “big blockhead,” so the family was amazed and relieved when Samson’s three months passed, and he was still as loveable and eager as ever. Courtesy Petco Foundation Instead of waiting for the end, Julianne and Dan decided to celebrate Samson’s present. The couple created a bucket list for the pooch. In between chemo treatments, Samson has gone to In-N-Out for a burger, walked the Golden Gate Bridge, had a dog-friendly party at a brewery and gone to the beach. “By April, Samson was part of our family. We adopted him to make it official. People say love has extended Samson’s life, as he keeps defying the odds. But he has given us much more in return. He’s changed our perspective, giving us new appreciation for the beauty of everyday life,” Julianne said. Courtesy Petco Foundation It has been one year since Samson received his three-month prognosis and he is still here enjoying every minute of his love-filled life. Julianne, Dan and Holly continue to add to Samson’s bucket list and are looking forward to their adventures together. Julianne shared Samson’s inspiring story with the Petco Foundation’s annual Holiday Wishes campaign. Each year, the Petco Foundation accepts entries from pet owners on how having a rescue pet has changed their lives. Those chosen by the foundation receive grants to give to an animal welfare organization of their choice. Courtesy Petco Foundation Samson and Julianne received one of the 51 Holiday Wishes grants given out this year. The pair won a $25,000 grant, which they gave to Oakland Animal Services. Overall, the Petco Foundation gave out $755,000 in grant awards through Holiday Wishes this year.