Saying Goodbye: Bossier’s Bucket List

Bossier, our Jack Russell terrier, lived a darn good 12 years, but the last year was a little tougher.  He became a grumpy, old-man version of the enthusiastic, energetic dog we once struggled to contain.

For the last couple months, he started to have severe mouth issues.  The vet removed a few rounds of teeth and prescribed various medications, but it wasn’t helping.  We were told if the last round of treatment didn’t work, it might be something more serious.  It was. He had cancer in his jaw bone, and at his age, there was very little they could do.


There are a lot of reasons not to like my dog.  Over the years, he’s eaten floorboards, scratched up walls, torn up carpet, and peed on just about anything of importance we owned.  We spent thousands of dollars cleaning, repairing, and replacing his messes. But the realization he’d soon be gone brought back a flood of happy memories…

He chased deer up a mountain, nearly got lost in the White Sands of News Mexico, visited The Big Easy, camped in the woods of Arkansas, hiked hills, fought with possums, hunted birds and rats, and dug out of the backyard at least a few dozen times.


Most importantly, he was there for the most important happenings in of our lives.  He plays a role in countless memories.  He was our constant for 12 years.

I thought I was prepared for this moment, but I wasn’t.

Ever since our daughter came along, we’ve neglected Bossier.  We used to give him all our attention; not so much anymore. There were times I viewed him more as an inconvenience than our little buddy.  He didn’t deserve that.  For all he had done wrong, he was a pretty good dog.  He deserved a good send off.

When we made the difficult decision to put him down, we decided to wait a few days. We wanted to make his last week special. I put together Bossier’s 4-day bucket list:

We managed to scratch each item off one-by-one and create lasting memories for our 6-year-old. When the list ended, the tears came. It was time to say goodbye.

We held him until the end.  We made sure he knew he was loved. We thanked him for always loving us.

He was a terror. He was a mess. He was good.

One of Bossier’s last photos.  By Laura.

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20 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye: Bossier’s Bucket List

  1. I’m writing this thru tears. Our 1st dog in 20 yrs was Chewy, the shih tzu who came to us as a gift when he was 12 weeks old. He’ll be 14 later this month. For the last year, he’s been failing w heart issues, collapsed trachea, glaucoma, and bronchitis. It’s breaking my heart. Losing a family pup was the reason i didnt have ANY pets for 20 yrs. I didn’t want to lose one again.. Thank for this beautiful tribute


    1. We had a precious Shih Tzu who was thrust into my arms one day as her owner stalked away after telling me her name was Lucy. Not sure how old Lucy was but she was ours.for about 10 years. She died of cancer laying with her head in my lap. I was in shock. We buried her and her “brother” Little Bit and their cat BK (Black Kitty) under the blackberry bushes in our yard at the edge of the field. Little Bit was a Lhasa and he died o f a stroke. BK was run over. That trio gave us more joy and laughter!!! WE now have Dixie and Dola, Shih Tzu and American Tabby cat. I have always had a dog, sometimes a cat or two and there are such special memories. I revisited them each as I watched the video and read the story. Thank you for sharing.


    2. We have a Bichon-pom and he is 13.He was diagnosed with heart disease and also has the collapsing trachea thing.He was coughing almost non stop for months.It was so annoying .But that has stopped for the most part.He is on meds for the rest of his life of course.He is a good dog and still seems happy.He is deaf now also.I think he can still see good.We find the odd tooth on the carpet.His dental estimate was like 1200. and then the next year they wanted like 2200.I didn’t know why it would go up that much in 1 year but now they say they will not do it.Too risky at his age i guess.He seems happy.


  2. My husband and I had a Boston Terrier that lived 17.5 years. We said goodbye to him on July 29, 2021. Like you, I thought I was ready, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do! I’m truly sorry for your loss.


  3. I’m typing this as my 13 year old mix is sleeping in between my feet. She has just undergone a surgery, and will most probably do quite well if things roll as expected. However, after having seen this video I begun to think about all the great stuff we might experience together when a last week of mutual adventure is needed. THX!


  4. I’m sorry for your loss, having just yesterday had to make the decision to have my 9 yr old cat put down after a diagnosis of lung cancer…


  5. I’ve had too many pets put to sleep to count. It’s a difficult decision to make especially if they never complain about their dwindling health. A time comes when it’s too painful for us to watch them suffer, and we know they will never get better.


  6. My 37.5 year old Quarter horse will probably out live us all (we are in our 70’s). Every morning I go out on the deck with my coffee, and even tho he is blind and almost deaf, he knows I am there; sends me the am nicker telling me he made it through another night. Your tribute truly touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.


  7. Lost my 13 year old boy this year as well, he wasn’t feeling well so he lay on my lap on a pillow all day . all of the sudden he cry’s and he is gone. I tried to revive him , my daughter said mom let him go. He was My good boy , protector . killer of mice. warning for strangers he was scarier by his bark, if you were threatening he also had a bite. Boss of the house since his 15 year old mother passed away 5 years ago. He had a hard start in life mother had to have a c section because he and 5 others were stuck. then after having a Tractor supply Parvo shot he got Parvo, almost Died then. stayed in the hospital for a week. He was a Good Good Boy!! my Leon and Raisen. Loved them so Miss them so much,


  8. We too lost our lovely boy this year after a brave fight with melanoma, he was just 15 yrs old a gave us so much pleasure.tried what ever we could to prolong his life but it got him in the end . To this day he is sorely missed and our lives are very empty without him he will always be loved.


  9. you did a wonderful thing for him, just as we did for our best ever dog, Crakka, the pitbull cross. We didn’t make him hang on for our sake, we let him go when we knew he didn’t have a good future. The last thing he did was sleep with my husband with the mattress on the floor because he couldn’t get up onto the bed.
    He died with my arms around him, he was loved to the end


  10. Like many of your respondents, I am loving a 13-year old Schnauzer-Doxie. We know she won’t be with us forever – she recently went deaf and is very nervous when she can’t find us immediately – but so far, so good. She still runs home after a walk to get her cookie, likes to ride in the car, wrestles with her younger sister. But thanks to you, we will know how to give her a helluva send off when it’s time! Now go to the pound an adopt somebody.


  11. i had a little white terrier mix, she was small but very brave. i took her in when no one else would keep her because she barked at everything, so we were not sure of her age. But i lost her this year and i also was not ready. i didnt want her die in a vet office so i sat with her at home till she finally just went to sleep. i knew that i loved her but i honestly did not know a dog would hang on so long just to be with me. i think when she did pass away she new i was with her and that she was ready to go. i miss her and still cry everyday.


  12. So sorry for your loss. The loss of a K-9 companion is one of the toughest things I have ever endured. My heartache was from my long time Black Labrador buddy named Daisy. At age 14 she developed Lyme disease from a tick bite. She got to the point she couldn’t walk. I had to make the very tough decision to have her put down. It was the least I could do for her after a life full of unconditional love and companionship. Itdestroyed me emotionally. She truly was my best friend. That was a heartache and pain I will never forget……


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