Service dog with cancer has bucket list

KING 5's Lili Tan reports.

It’s a list of items Stephanie Taylor would rather not finish, as nearing the end of it also means nearing the end of her time with her 11-year-old service dog, Tum Tum.

“He’s gotten to eat ice cream. Other things are going to the beach,” Taylor said, reading from a list of 50 items including seeing family and eating “human food.”

The 33-year-old Seattleite made Tum Tum a bucket list after he was diagnosed with liver cancer in October.

“I feel like I owe it to him for all the work he's done to keep me going in life, in saving my life,” Taylor said, explaining she too has several chronic illnesses, including multiple heart conditions, diabetes I and II, stomach issues and mental illness.

“I spent the last four years basically living in the hospital,” Taylor said.

Bulldog Tum Tum often acted as her lifeline. He is trained to gauge her heart rate and stand on her pressure points if she loses consciousness.

“There have been a few times where he's literally taken me to the ER and I get there and I have no idea how I got there or why I'm there. It's because he knew something was wrong,” Taylor said.

She says family and friends will be there when he passes away in a few months, but she still can’t imagine having someone else so in tune with her.

“He’s not like that I’m getting upset right now. Because it’s a hard topic. Yeah, he can tell that I’m about to cry because he is, he’s my lifeline,” Taylor said.

At one point, she says Tum Tum steps in front of the camera to stop the interview.

“I know, honey,” she said reassuring him she is okay.

One of his final bucket list items is to head to the mountains to play in the snow one last time. The Seattle dog won’t go outside in the rain, but does enjoy the snow.

“We had light snowfall and he was just super happy trying to catch them as they were falling,” Taylor said.

However, with dozens of items left to cross off, will he make it?

Taylor says leaving a few items may keep Tum Tum’s memory alive.

“I would much rather there be things we didn't check off,” she said. “And maybe in a sense, I do that myself and take a piece of him with me to finish them.”

Taylor’s friends have starting a YouCaring page to fund Tum Tum’s final trip to the mountains.

 

© 2017 KING-TV


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