When Riina Cooke learned that her nine-year-old boxer, Romeo, had inoperable bone cancer, she was overcome with grief. In order to cope with the inevitable death of her beloved dog and, more importantly, to make his final days the most enjoyable of his life, Cooke created a canine bucket list, turning the end of Romeo's life into a wonderful adventure for them both. She decided to photograph each event -- from Romeo's first cheeseburger to a ride in a fire engine, to a "paw-dicure" in the family's living room.
"The bucket list really helped with my grieving because it got me out and got him out to experience stuff we hadn't done before,'' Cooke told Today.com. "I think it kept him alive longer because I believe it kept him happy. I think he doubled the vet's projection of how much longer he had to live."
Unfortunately, Romeo died on March 16 -- but he lived long enough to celebrate his ninth birthday in style, with a big celebration at the park. Cooke said that by sharing her and Romeo's bucket list experience on social media, she feels many more families will be able to cope with their grief over the loss of a pet. "I've had hundreds, maybe close to a thousand messages from people, saying this helped them,'' Cooke said. "There were people saying, 'My boxer has same thing,' or, 'My German shepherd has lung cancer.' People are saying, 'It inspired us to live out the last days with our cherished family members, four legs or two, and end happy.'"