A bucket list for my dog

I decided to create a bucket list for Ace, and to keep it to 10 items.

Most of these are actually more about me than my dog. Ace is happy with a 20-minute walk and a tennis ball. He probably doesn’t care about a bucket list.

Still, I decided to create a list of 10 things I’d really like to do with my dog in his lifetime.

A bucket list for my dog Ace

A bucket list for my dog

1. Road trip to Wisconsin.

We moved from North Dakota to California last summer, and it would really mean a lot to me if Ace could visit my parents in Wisconsin at least one more time. This is definitely more for me than him, but I would love to see him running on my parents’ property again, swimming in their lake and jumping off their dock.

Obviously, this will depend on our budget and work schedules. It’s a 2,000-mile drive.

“I would love to see him running on my parents’ property again …”

2. Sign up for an obedience class.

I know! It sounds so basic. But since we moved I haven’t taken the time to find a club or trainer I really like, and I haven’t budgeted the $200 (yikes!) for a class.

Training classes are something Ace and I really love doing together.

3. Plan a photoshoot.

This could be professional or it could just be my husband and I with our camera. Either way, I’d like to get some solid, high-quality photos we can save forever, including action shots of Ace chasing his ball, portraits of us with our dog and one of Ace with the cats.

“I’d like to get some solid, high-quality photos we can save forever …”

4. Take Ace to a nursing home.

Ace visited my grandma in the nursing home back in 2008. I’m grateful for that, but it’s something I haven’t done since. My dog has the perfect energy and personality for visiting people in nursing homes, and I’d really like to take him somewhere locally if possible.

5. Take more videos of my dog.

This would be to capture all his tricks and goofy traits like howling.

6. Plan a “perfect day” for my dog once a year.

I did this for my senior foster dog Dora because I knew she had limited time, but let’s face it, we all have limited time. We should all be planning lots of “perfect days” for ourselves and our dogs.

7. Spend half the day at the beach with my dog.

You’d think we would’ve done this by now since we live within walking distance of a great beach. Nope. All our visits are about 20 minutes to an hour or so.

8. Go camping with my dog.

Yes, we’ve done this before, but not often enough. It’s been over two years since our last camping trip. Thankfully, we have a camping trip planned next month in northern California!

9. Road trip to Texas.

My brother lives in Odessa, and it would be a lot of fun to take Ace to see “Uncle Peter.” For several years, Peter lived in Grand Forks, N.D., while I lived 70 miles south in Fargo. During that time, Ace got to take several road trips to see Peter. It would be fun to do that again, only now it’s a 1,000-mile trip.

10. Visit Montana.

My husband and I have plans to eventually move to Montana where we have a dream of owning a ranch. I’m not sure if this will happen in Ace’s lifetime, but either way I would like to take Ace to that area to check out some property. He’s never been to Montana, and it would mean a lot to me to get him there at least once.

So, as you can see, it’s important to me to be out and about doing things with my dog!

What’s one thing you would include on a bucket list for your dog?

I read about this great idea first on The Lazy Pit Bull. A bucket list for your dog!

Bucket list for my dog

24 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Jane Y. on May 7, 2014

    Such an adorable idea. We have an unofficial one for our dog that we started a couple years back. He’s 15 years old now so the more memories we make this way, the more special it seems 🙂 Hope you get to complete this list! One thing that we wanted to do was see our dog swim which we did at a nearby creek. Another was to go to the beach which we did last year. A roadtrip and definitely camping is also on our list!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on May 7, 2014

      Glad you like the idea! I just checked out your blog as well. What a cute dog!

  2. Ashlee on May 7, 2014

    My mutt loves Montana (and so do I)! I hope you get to take Ace. On my dogs bucket list: travel as much as her humans can take her.

    We’re going on a two week road trip in a few weeks. On the docket: Colorado, Montana, Washington and Oregon. It’s going to be fun!

    • Sean on May 7, 2014

      Sounds like a fun trip!

      That reminds me: my dogs loved Montana too.

      And for all my accumulated dog knowledge, Montana is where I learned the very useful fact that the herby smell of elk dung does not ever completely wash out of a nylon collar.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on May 7, 2014

      So jealous!

      • Lindsay Stordahl Author on May 7, 2014

        (Jealous that Ashlee gets to go to Montana, not that Sean got to experience elk dung! Ha!)

  3. Sean on May 7, 2014

    I like the idea of a “bucket list” for us & our dogs. I also need to schedule more video-taking and photo shoot time. I agree that it’s more about the people than the dogs, but it’s also about strengthening and celebrating your relationship together.

    As for how to make a list or changes that are specifically about your dog, it seems like we can all do more to make the “perfect day” concept more of our dogs’ experience, not just as an end-of-life thing. I’ve been trying to incorporate that into what I do with my dogs.

    Just like a bucket list, you can make a list of your dog’s perfect day – don’t put more than 5 to 10 items on it. Then look at the list and consider: without damaging anyone’s health or budget, which of these things can I do once a year? quarterly? monthly? weekly? daily?

    Thinking in terms of making every day have the potential to be the perfect day made me realize that very simple changes (and some slightly more involved ones) could bring my dogs far more enjoyment on a regular or routine basis. Most of what makes our dogs happy is related to food, things to chew, the types of places to go, activities and games to play, friends to see (human, canine, other), and one-on-one time together. Balancing work and life responsibilities, we can’t make every moment of every day perfect for our dogs, but we can introduce small things to make the day better.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on May 7, 2014

      I LOVE that idea of planning more “perfect days” and finding little ways to make more of those little things happen on a regular basis.

      Seriously though, if Ace wrote this list it would go something like:

      1. Ball
      2. Ball
      3. Ball …

      • Sean on May 7, 2014

        Ha! I’m sure he’d add a spot for dinner between ball and ball. 🙂

        Maybe you can list what kind of ball? I made a dog’s life more perfect by making sure there is always an orange chuck-it ball, the best of all balls, and not some imposter green tennis ball or anything.

  4. Jessicavy on May 7, 2014

    What a beautiful idea!

    Just last weekend my husband and I were able to cross something off our unofficial “bucket list” for our dog. He has major reactivity issues ever since some dumb stoner and his dog attacked him, and he doesn’t like meeting new people. Sometimes he growls, or snaps when people try to pet him. We’ve been working on it, and on Sunday we had him at an adoption event (not FOR adoption, he was just there for fun) and he let several people pet him with no fuss. He even seemed to like it! That’s what I want for my dog more than anything; to not be scared when people approach him. To enjoy people cooing over him and telling him he’s adorable as much as I do. If he ever gets lost, I want him to let a stranger help him get home.

    Other, less vital things on my doggie bucket list would be:
    Take an agility class
    Visit the snow
    Teach him to enjoy water (or maybe it’s pointless to wish for a terrier that swims)

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on May 7, 2014

      Oh those are all great ideas! And I’m so happy he got to attend that event and enjoy all the attention. What a good boy!

  5. Rebekah on May 7, 2014

    Those are all such great ideas! I may need to do this.

  6. nancyspoint on May 7, 2014

    Reading this bucket list for Ace made me teary eyed, especially #1! I hope he gets to do all of these things. At the same time, I know he has a good life and even if he doesn’t to get to do all of them, he’ll be one happy dog as long as he has you!

  7. I love this idea. I like your ideas like the photos and obedience class. I’m not sure exactly what would be on my list. This will take some thought.

  8. Amy on May 10, 2014

    What a lovely idea! Hmm… I’ll have to think of some things to add to Chowski’s bucket list. The number one thing on his bucket list at the moment is to attend a local Pug meet.

    I think he’d love to be around so many dogs that look like him! 🙂

  9. Jessica on May 18, 2014

    Aw, I loved this idea so much that I just wrote up a bucket list for my 1.5 year old lab mix…That dog is my world!
    Here is what is on our list: Run trails out west at a National Park, take a Rally obedience class (We already took many agility classes), Go camping, swim in the ocean, hike part of the Appalachian trail (possibly this fall!), Run a pooch 5k, eat at a dog friendly restaurant, find a weirdnj.com site, buy a good camera for excellent photos, and go on a night trail run!

  10. Barbara Rivers on August 24, 2014

    What a great idea of creating a bucket list! I love all of your bullet points – minus the camping one, that’s not for me as I’m terrified of insects and such 🙁

    My personal high priority is taking our pups to a beach. Missy loves water, and Buzz enjoys fetching his ball or frisbee out of it. They’ve been to pools, lakes, and streams, but haven’t been oceanside yet. To be worked on!! Thanks for the reminder of following through 🙂

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 24, 2014

      I’m sure they would love the beach! I take it for granted that I can visit the beach so often.

  11. Scott on December 8, 2016

    This post really struck me – my fur-baby Shian went finally blind this week – he is around 8 years old – and what I did was have a ‘living bucket list’ – meaning the things I wanted to do with him while he could still see – in last year – we travelled across country, hiked mountains, spent countless hours at the beach – his inability to see changes what we can do together now – I think all along he just wanted to play fetch – and we can still do that – he follows the ball by sounds and smells – I never appreciated the faculty of vision so much as I do now after watching him go blind – our lives really changed – more than I realized – but our relationship has deepened immensely in many ways…

  12. Keith on December 8, 2016

    Your great Lindsay,I never thought of a bucket list for Emma Lou.We live a few hours from the snow and we have never been in the snow..The training classes too.We were going to classes but have not in a year.I don`t know what else yet to put on her bucket list but going to the snow and a few classes would be a great start.