When the Erickson family got news that their 3-year-old bulldog Roxy had terminal cancer, they decided to fill her life with love and laughter by creating her "Bulldog Bucket List."
KATY MAGAZINE | August 2018
Ashley Lancaster Photography by Chantal Erickson
Chantal Erickson of Katy is an advocate for pet adoption and rescue, has always liked to spend time volunteering at local shelters, and passed that passion along to her two young daughters Kenna (13) and Kamryn (8). After the heartbreaking loss of their two beloved Schitz Tsu's in 2016, the Erickson family had no intention of bringing another new dog into their home, until one day in August when they met Roxy at Special Pals.
A NEW LIFE, A NEW DOG
"Roxy picked us, and we just could not leave the shelter without her in tow," says Erickson. Roxy, an 18-month English bulldog, had come from an abusive home and was very nervous around both children and other dogs. But the Erickson family felt that with love, patience, and lots of training, they could bring Roxy out of her shell.
"I took Roxy to training every week, and over time she realized that she was safe and that she was surrounded by love," she says. After months of training and intentional love from everyone in the family, Roxy the Bulldog transformed into a completely different dog. The girls fell in love with her, and she was no longer cowering in the corner, but became the household center of attention.
AN UNEXPECTED SURGERY About a year after Roxy came home, the Erickson's noticed that she was in pain. A trip to the vet's office revealed that her knee cap would slip out of place, and required surgery. "We were not prepared for the cost of the surgery, but Roxy is a part of our family, and we care for her the way we would care for our children," she says.
The surgery and recovery were successful, and Roxy went back to her playful self again, but not for long. At 15 weeks post-surgery, another leg injury, requiring two more surgeries, put Roxy back in the hospital. At a post-op check up following her third leg surgery, the vet noticed that the pup's neck was a bit swollen, and over the following weeks prescribed no less than 14 antibiotics to try and reduce it, to no avail.
THE HARDEST NEWS
"Three months after her third birthday, we heard the news no pet parent ever wants to hear...the swelling in Roxy's neck was terminal lymphoma," says Erickson.
With two young daughters who loved their dog so much, the Ericksons knew that they had to find a way to deliver the bad news with as much hope and and encouragement as possible. That's when they thought of the bucket list.
FILLING A LIFE, CREATING MEMORIES
"We sat the girls down and decided we would create a bucket list of all the things we wanted to do with Roxy before she passed," says Erickson. Although the news of incurable cancer is heartbreaking for the family, they are determined to give Roxy the best life she can possibly live while she still can. Along with her bucket list, Chantal, an experienced photographer, is keeping a heartwarming photo record of all Roxy's bucket list adventures.
"Our hearts are breaking a little more with every day that passes, but I am thankful to be able to create these memories that will take us right back to the moments in time when she was still with us," she says.
ROXY'S BUCKET LIST
1. Go to the Beach
2. Eat Ice Cream
3. Bring her to the Swimming Pool
4. Go to a dog-friendly restaurant
5. Go to the Doggie Bakery
6. Have a family photo shoot
7. Pain a paw print picture
8. Eat fast food
9. Have a sleepover
10. Sleep in the girls' bed
11. Spa day
12. Let her get on the couch
13. Steak dinner
14. Get extra snuggle time each day
15. Have lots of new doggie treats
16. Take a road trip
ROXY'S BUCKET LIST PHOTO ALBUM