Lauren Fern Watt and her mastiff, Gizelle, are the best of friends. They’ve gone through major life experiences together, and are always there to show one another support. When Gizelle was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, Lauren was determined to stay strong and go on the adventure of a lifetime with her best friend. Together the duo came up with a bucket list to complete in the last few months of Gizelle’s life, and it was epic!
“It was my mission for us to indulge and explore life’s joys,” wrote Lauren. “We’d escape the city and search for waterfalls, cook lobster, and nap in the grass. We’d jump in the ocean without towels, just to enjoy the sun drying us, and never stress about details like sand in the car.”
Lauren is sharing her and Gizelle’s story with the world. Here are photos from their amazing bucket-list adventure.
“Doing a bucket list for Gizelle not only helped me cope with losing her, it was also one wild ride. It helped me live in the present and see life for what it truly is: a sweet, simple, precious adventure.”
“Gizelle and I always used to watch The Little Mermaid together, and a favorite scene was the one where Ariel is chauffeured in a row boat by Prince Eric. So I was determined to get all 160 pounds of my easily spooked pup into a canoe.”
“Like most New Yorkers, Gizelle and I were a little repulsed by Times Square. That said, it’s still a famous New York City landmark, so I decided we would go at 6:45 a.m. before the life-size cartoon characters and tourists could clog the sidewalks.”
“Gizelle loved the car, so I rented one and Gizelle, my best friend Rebecca, and I took off for a four-day girls-only road trip through New England, with no particular destination in mind. We’d take turns sticking our heads out the window, and didn’t worry about work, deadlines, or boys.”
“For an entire day, Gizelle and I sat in Washington Square Park in downtown N.Y.C. and people watched.”
“In complicated and busy Manhattan, it’s easy to forget about the simple things. I made it my mission to find a quiet dock where Gizelle and I could have an ice cream, watch the boats float by, and enjoy.”
“Gizelle had always been my wing girl for picking up guys in the East Village; now it was her turn. When I found out a friend was having a party with 19 adorable single dogs on the invite list, I knew this was Gizelle’s chance to meet someone special.”
“I knew 2014 would be Gizelle’s last Christmas, and I really wanted her to meet Santa. The only problem was, my pup might be afraid of a tall man with a big beard and a sack full of unpredictable toys. So when we stumbled across these three trusted pug Santa’s helpers, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.”
“As she got sicker, Gizelle’s appetite began to disappear and mine did, too. So when a friend told us about a family-owned doughnut-store gem, Congdon’s Donuts, we went on a quest to find it up the coast of Maine.”
“After I discovered she was dying, dog hair on my once-forbidden bed and slobber on my face didn’t seem to matter as much as spending time cuddling with Gizelle. She helped teach me that love is the most wonderful gift I can receive, and it is the best thing I have to give.”
“I was told Gizelle wouldn’t make it until Christmas, but in January we sat by the ocean in Maine as it snowed the day before she died. Part of me wondered if this was her plan all along, to take me on an adventure, knowing we’d end up on a deserted beach alone …”
“… I knew she would live on through my experiences, and that I gave her the best life I could. And that to me was infinitely healing.”
Image source: Lauren Fern Watt/LifeWithDogs