Family dog has terminal cancer and how they chose to spend his final months is a lesson for us all

"I think that's why God chose my wife and family 'cause she could give him the best of what life he has left."
June 27, 2018 10:18 am Last Updated: June 27, 2018 10:18 am

Who said bucket lists were just for people?

When the Ledford family adopted a St. Bernard named Odin in November 2017, they were overjoyed to welcome him into their family. But months later their feelings turned to sadness when they were given the news that their 4-year-old had bone cancer.

“I lost my mom to cancer. My wife lost her parents as well,” Jeff Ledford said. “I think that’s why God chose my wife and family ’cause she could give him the best of what life he has left.”

Only a few months after they adopted Odin, Jeff’s wife, Bobbie Jo, noticed a lump on his leg.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Friday, June 15, 2018

According to New Jersey 101.5, Bobbie Jo spotted the lump on Odin’s leg in March 2018 and brought her beloved dog to the vet. She was told Odin had osteosarcoma—bone cancer—and there were two options.

Doctors could amputate the St. Bernard’s leg, though that would be difficult for a dog of his size. Alternatively, Odin could receive chemotherapy, which would only buy him so much time.

Odin was diagnosed with cancer.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

After careful consideration, the Ledfords decided against amputation and chemotherapy.

“They said if I did chemo that he’d only live for a year and I just felt like I’ve seen humans go through chemo and they’re just not the same and I want him to be the happy puppy he is,” Bobbie Jo told News 12 New Jersey.

The couple didn’t want Odin’s personality to change from chemotherapy.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Saturday, April 28, 2018

“He has a bond with my wife that I’ve never seen,” Jeff said. “My wife cried every day, every second for weeks. I said to enjoy the time with him, be happy with the time you have. She then said, ‘I’ll make a bucket list.'”

Bobbie Jo created the ultimate bucket list for Odin.

Here I am in Lake George can’t wait to visit Oscars, Martha’s ice cream, and whole bunch on my list. 🐖🌲🍦⛴⛱

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Saturday, May 12, 2018

Knowing that Odin had six months left to live, Bobbie Jo wrote down a list of things her sweet 4-year-old pooch needed to accomplish.

She started sharing photos on Facebook of her big ol’ St. Bernard checking items off his bucket list, and when she received a number of Facebook friend requests, she made Odin his own Facebook page, Odin’s Bucket List.

Despite his terminal diagnosis, Odin has been living his life to the fullest.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

He’s taken a picture with waitresses at Hooters.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The pup from New Jersey met a police officer.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Even though the family knows that one day in the near future—it’s been three months since Odin received his diagnosis—their dog won’t be with them anymore, Bobbie Jo said that spending time with Odin has helped her deal with her emotions.

She’s even been surprised with the love she’s received since starting Odin’s Facebook page.

“The support … it’s amazing,” she said. “It has become a community of people and their pets. People share their stories of their pets, post pics of them. It’s awesome. No politics, no fights, no race, no religion; everyone is just being the way people should be … kind, loving, caring people!”

The St. Bernard has been able to cross “first ice cream” off his list.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Friends and even complete strangers have been more than eager to help Odin work through his list.

“They give us a happy day every day.  We wake up, they make us happy.  They live for us,” Tracy Broderick, a family friend who assisted Odin with his first ice cream, told News 12 New Jersey. “And any day we can give a little piece of that back.  That’s the best.”

His bucket list includes a fair share of food-related things, and Odin’s happily accomplishing each one.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Odin has achieved a lot in three months, but still has a ways to go.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Thursday, June 21, 2018

Although there are still a few items left on Odin’s bucket list, like meeting the Yankees, Bobbie Jo asked for some more suggestions.

Odin’s followers were quick to respond and suggest Odin visit a children’s hospital, take a ride in a convertible, and go fishing, among many other things.

Bobbie Jo is hopeful Odin will live longer than six months because of how he’s spending his last days.

Just checked on Odin, he got his meds early this morning☀️ The nervous mom i am like to make sure he gets them right on time. He is doing great. Missing my best friend today♥️🐾.

Posted by Bobbie Jo Ledford on Sunday, June 24, 2018

“The goal I guess it’s just for the world to know how wonderful he is, but also it’s a lesson to all of us if anyone has a loved one who has a limited time do all you can to make memories,” Bobbie Jo said. “Make a bucket list. Do that list with loved ones. Don’t waste your last days months or years crying. Make those happy memories and share them.”

You can follow Odin on Instagram or Facebook as he checks off items on his bucket list.