The Davis family was beyond ecstatic after adopting Kaylee, however, the mood quickly turned when they found out that they might have less time with her than they had thought – as it turned out, she had cancer.
Despite the grim diagnosis of their newly adopted dog, they wanted to give her the best life possible, no matter how long that life was – so, they decided to make a bucket list.
Kaylee’s story with the Davis family begins over a year ago. Melissa Davis’ young daughter asked if they could adopt a senior dog.
“When she realized that old dogs die in the shelter with no family to love them, she was heartbroken. She started begging for us to adopt ‘an old dog no one else wants’ so that it could have a family before it died,” Davis told TODAY.
However, Melissa was hesitant about agreeing to adopt an elderly dog. After all, the Davis family already had two children, two dogs, and five rescue cats.
“I worried about the additional commitment and financial impact. I also worried about how hard it would be on the kids to potentially lose a pet soon after adopting it,” Davis said.
Melissa didn’t want to discount her daughter’s idea and empathy, so she decided to look into the idea further – doing her research and talking with family members. After some thought and discussion, the concerned mom started to feel more comfortable with the idea.
Melissa began to browse the adoptable dogs at BARCS, Baltimore’s animal shelter, and when she saw Kaylee – it was love at first sight.
The Davises wanted to go meet Kaylee in person and set up an appointment, but the shelter staff wanted to let them know that, not only was she a senior dog, but she was suffering from numerous health issues like kidney disease, a urinary tract infection, and a torn ACL. The loving family still wanted to meet her.
“But we wanted to meet her anyway,” Davis said. “When they brought her outside to us, I knelt down on the ground and Kaylee leaned into my chest. I knew she was ours right then.”
Just a few weeks before the family went to meet Kaylee, the 11-year-old dog was surrendered to BARCS because her previous owners could no longer afford the costs of her medical needs. They dropped her off to be put down.
After examination, the veterinarians at the facility disagreed and felt that she could be put up for adoption. The staff asked the previous owners if they would be okay with trying to rehome her instead, and they agreed.
So, weeks later, when the Davises arrived at the shelter to adopt Kaylee, they figured that they would have at least a few good years with the sweet dog. Sadly, after taking her to their family veterinarian, they had diagnosed her with metastasized thyroid cancer.
Because of the advanced stage of her cancer and her old age, aggressive treatment simply wasn’t an option. Given just months to live – Kaylee’s new family was determined to make those last months amazing.
The Davis family decided to make “Kaylee’s Bucket List” – a list of activities that they wanted her to accomplish before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Fun fact about Kaylee. If you give her food, she will gently set it on the ground and wait until you tell her "It's for you!" before she'll eat it. Here's her munching some snacks in bed.
Posted by Kaylee's Bucket List on Sunday, July 9, 2017
Many of Kaylee’s bucket list items include food, like eating burgers, having breakfast in bed, and going out for ice cream. Other items included a birthday party, a short and easy hike, and a visit to the Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland – she even witnessed the 2017 solar eclipse!
Of course, every single day would be filled with snuggles and love.
“Then we’d snuggle into bed together. She always slept smashed up against me,” Davis said.
Kaylee’s Bucket List’s Facebook page amassed almost 40,000 fans and even inspired others to adopt senior animals.
“I received an email from someone who has started volunteering at a local shelter and adopted a senior cat because of Kaylee,” Davis said. “This means more to me than words can say.”
Kaylee’s story even inspired BARCS to install a plaque in her honor – and in a heartbreaking and beautiful moment in 2018, she accomplished more bucket list items. Starting her day, she enjoyed steak and eggs, as well as a Starbucks puppucchino – she also enjoyed a lovely cheese buffet.
Later that afternoon, a vet came to the Davis house for what Melissa called the “final bucket list item: Have the best day ever and fall asleep in my mom’s arms.”
Final bucket list item: Have the best day ever and fall asleep in my mom's arms. ✔️Kaylee had country fried steak,…
Since she’s passed, it has been very hard on the Davis family, however, they are so glad they were able to give Kaylee that best last months of her life. All the family wants, is for people to consider adopting senior pets or offering time at shelters.
“The best way to honor Kaylee’s memory is to get out there and get involved. Donate to a local shelter. Sponsor an adoption fee for a senior pet. Volunteer your time. Foster,” she said. “And best of all, adopt a senior pet. Give a loving home to a pet no one else wants and see what a truly magical experience it is.”
Kaylee’s amazing story is yet another reminder to share the message to ‘adopt, don’t shop.’
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