"His bucket list was created to give Theo a chance to experience amazing things and receive huge amounts of love," said the dog's owner, who welcomed the foster pup in May

By Benjamin VanHoose
September 01, 2020 01:16 PM
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Jenny Leech

This terminally ill dog is crossing items off his fun-filled bucket list, one adventure at a time!

In a collection of posts and photos on Facebook, Jenny Leech of Illinois is documenting how she and her family are helping their foster dog Theo make the most of his final days by checking off to-dos on his bucket list.

Leech's family took in the golden retriever as an end-of-life hospice foster on May 27, according to a description on Facebook, after rescuers found the 12-year-old dog abandoned in a Walmart parking lot. Theo has "large masses throughout his body" and was diagnosed with "testicular cancer that has metastasized to his prostate and his abdomen."

"Despite everything he is sweet, happy, and loving with a huge zest for life," Leech wrote. "His bucket list was created to give Theo a chance to experience amazing things and receive huge amounts of love."

Stacy Tierman Photography

His new owners don't know how long Theo has left to live, but they are making sure the time they do have together is chock-full of memorable experiences. (Theo's not eligible for surgery due to his age and the progression of his cancer, but he's on medication to slow the further spread and manage pain.)

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"At whatever point that we are seeing more pain, loss of appetite, less joy, or more bad days than good, we will be there to let Theo go," wrote Leech. "For now, we go day by day and try to make each day the best ever for him."

What kind of bucket list endeavors have they embarked on so far? Theo enjoyed a day at the beach, had a drive-in movie night, indulged in some delectable meals (drive-thru burgers and a steak dinner!), and even went on a doggy blind date. He also became an honorary K9 member of a local police department.

Stacy Tierman Photography

And Leech is open to bucket list ideas from the thousands of people following along with Theo's escapades.

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"People started offering bucket list ideas," Leech told WHTM of the outpouring of support from strangers. "Someone offered to take him on a boat ride, another took Theo for a ride in his Mustang convertible … it was just amazing."

Each day, Leech and her family make it so Theo (and his beloved octopus stuffed animal pal) can attain another goal on his bucket list. The loving foster caregiver said she hopes his journey brings joy to those keeping up to date with their adventures.

"He came for some purpose," she said. "I think people are looking for things and ways to feel good, and he’s giving people that chance."