Heartbroken Dad Finds Out His Dog Is Terminal, Makes 81-Item Bucket List

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

January 4, 2016

Three things happened very quickly for Todd Burchanowski and his family: 1) Their Beagle Poodle mix (Boodle, if you will) Reyes was diagnosed with terminal cancer, 2) Some very wise friends suggested creating and documenting a bucket list for the sweet girl, and 3) Burchanowski recruited Reyes’ best human friends to come up with ideas.

It all started with a firetruck.

Today, I received the worst possible news…My dog and best friend, Reyes, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As…

Posted by Todd Burchanowski on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Just before Thanksgiving, Reyes’ family learned she has Lymphoma. It’s something many of us fear; hearing our dogs suddenly have a deadline—years, months, or days, is enough to take our breath away. This was no different for Todd, who told ABC News:

I was absolutely devastated. I love her to death and she’s my best friend. I count on her for a lot of things, not just companionship. To hear she’s not going to be around, that really took a toll on me.

His dog has been given two months to live, and you bet they’re going to make the most of it. Already, Reyes has completed several items on her lengthy bucket list. She’s gone for a slow-motion run on the beach…

#7 Take a run at the beach (slo mo style!)

Posted by Todd Burchanowski on Thursday, December 10, 2015

… sampled the local McDonald’s fare…

french fries

… and wed the boy dog next door.

#17 "Get married!!!!" Well today was the day Reyes finally got married!! A special thanks to all those who attended and participated in the event!!

Posted by Todd Burchanowski on Saturday, December 12, 2015

But Reyes might tell you her favorite thing was sticking her head out the top of her dad’s Jeep.


This dog is a member of the family. She’s been loved all her life, and she’ll be missed when she’s gone. Todd said:

Reyes is so important in my life, in my family life, the kids [I teach] at school… I always have a Reyes story to tell. I thought it would be a good idea if all the people in her life came up with an item for a list.

Kisses from the grandparents are a must, and we all need to meet a cow before we go.

The wonderful humans at Balance Veterinary Rehabilitation Services even invited Reyes and her dad to check off #39 “Swim” in their very own therapy pools.

#39 "Swim!!!" A special thanks to the absolutely great people at Balance Veterinary Rehabilitation Services for allowing Reyes to fulfill her swimming bucket list item. Truly blessed to have so many people help us with the list!!!

Posted by Todd Burchanowski on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Though this resilient pooch won’t get the years she deserves, there is one thing we know for sure: dogs live for today. They don’t know death exists, so they enjoy every second of life. Some who have seen Reyes’ story laud her family for giving her some of the best days of her life, others have not yet grasped the purpose of a bucket list for dogs.


The truth is, a dog might not know that this treatment is any more special than what they’ve always been given. But they DO know that they love you; they love sharing snacks, resting their head on your shoulder, and simply being around you. They will be up on their feet and at your heels for as long as they’re able, and that’s perfectly fine.

A bucket list is just as much for the humans as it is for the dog whose name is at the top. That is what’s important. Todd wrote in a Facebook post:

I want to thank all of your for liking, commenting, or messaging me regarding Reyes. To be honest, I am so blessed to have this many wonderful and caring people in my life. I want you to know that by you following this journey Reyes and I are taking, it gives the both of us so much strength during our difficult time. Thank you all so much!

#70 "Celebrate another birthday (early)"

Posted by Todd Burchanowski on Monday, January 4, 2016

H/t ABC News, Featured Image via Facebook/Todd Burchanowski

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

January 4, 2016

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