Dying Beagle Little Joe Has A Bucket List, So Prepare To Feel All The Feelings

There's no truer love than the love between a human and his canine best friend. And there's no finer display of that love than this Maryland couple's project dedicated to their beloved Beagle. Essam and Kathryne Shomali of Towson, Maryland, recently discovered that their Beagle, Little Joe, has terminal cancer, so they created a bucket list for him to live the rest of his days to the absolute fullest.

Kathryne told the Baltimore Sun that she's always wanted a dog and bugged Essam until he agreed. When they went to the animal shelter in 2012, Kathryne knew Little Joe, nicknamed L.J., was "the one" halfway into a 15-minute walk with him. The Shomalis took him home, and he's been part of the family ever since.

In mid-March, the couple took 9-year-old L.J. to the vet for a routine checkup and a lump was detected, removed, and diagnosed. The Shomalis were devastated to learn that it was Adenocarcinoma, an aggressive type of gland cancer.

"I cried a lot," Kathryne told the Sun. "It was devastating. We've barely had any time with him." Essam added, "He's like our child."

According to L.J.'s vet, Dr. Anthony Calo, of Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine & Oncology, in Towson, most dogs with Adenocarcinoma live an average of one and a half years after being diagnosed, but some can live only six months while others up to five years.

Not knowing how much time they have left with L.J., the Shomalis plan on making the most of their time with their pooch, so that even if their time together is short, it certainly won't be dull.

"Our hope for L.J.'s Bucket List is to have fun," Kathryne said. "The whole point of it is to celebrate his life and the time he has left. However many things we get done and whatever we do, we just want him to have a blast."

So what exactly is on L.J.'s bucket list? Bring out the tissues because you're about to feel some feels...

  1. Eat a Big Mac.
  2. Ride in a firetruck or police car.
  3. Have a candle-lit steak dinner in the park.
  4. Eat an ice cream cone. This one was crossed off when L.J. got to eat a Taharka Brothers vanilla cake cone from Uncle Wiggly's in late May.
  5. Donate to a shelter. This was fulfilled when L.J. and Kathryne delivered eight bags of bedding to Baltimore Outreach Services at Christ Lutheran Church in April.
  6. Donate to an animal shelter. This was checked off when L.J., Kathryne, and Essam delivered a donation to Maryland SPCA in Baltimore on June 8.
  7. Go on a blind date. This one was fulfilled when L.J. met up with an older woman — a 10-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever named Jilly.
  8. Go to a dog spa.
  9. Ride in a motorcycle sidecar.
  10. Meet a famous dog or police dog.
  11. Have a birthday party with friends.
  12. Get on the news. (Done.)
  13. Donate to the Beagle Freedom Project.
  14. Go for a swim.
  15. Meet Baby Shomali. The couple are pregnant with their first ( or should I say second?) child and are hopeful that L.J. will still be here in December when the baby is due.

Images: Kathryne Chalikis Shomali/Facebook, Baltimore Sun video