Buddy was given 6 weeks to live, so his owner created a bucket list for him.

When Buddy was diagnosed with severe lymphoma, his family was understandably heartbroken.

The 6-year-old Australian cattle dog was given four to six weeks to live by his doctors. And his condition was rapidly deteriorating.

Emily Mochan, Buddy's owner wasn't quite sure how to cope. "I got the diagnosis and was really distraught," she told Upworthy.


Emily and Buddy. All photos from Emily Mochan, used with permission.

At the suggestion of a friend, Emily decided to do something pretty unique. She created a bucket list for him.

"I did this and initially it was more just a coping mechanism," said Emily. "I had 27 things and only thought I'd get support from friends and family who felt sorry for me."

Buddy's bucket list contained all the activities a pup might want to do before his time on Earth ends: ride in a police car, go out on a boat, play in the mud, and dozens of others.

Emily photographed everything and documented it on a Facebook page. Before long, Emily and Buddy's adventures had an audience of over 12,000 followers.

But she was also running out of things to do.

"It just took off to the extent that I actually made a post asking for suggestions so we'd still have things to do in his remaining time," said Emily.

With the Internet's help, Buddy's list quickly expanded to 50 items, and the determined little guy tore threw them.

He got to dress up in costumes:

Spend a day making art:

And even become an honorary service dog:

Although there were times when he was a little limpy, or too weak to run, he always had a bright smile on his face, and a wagging tail behind him.

Buddy's last weeks were spent living a doggy dream life. Shuffled from one fun activity to the next, he was surrounded by cheering friends and family the whole time.

Buddy exceeded the doctors expectations and survived nine weeks after his diagnosis. "I'd like to think that was because his life was just too good to give up early," said Emily.

Eventually, though, Buddy's time came to an end.

Buddy died early one morning in late March, after spending one last night cuddled up with Emily, playing gentle games of "tug of war."

Before his passing, Buddy and Emily managed to complete every single item on the list. Except for one.

Item number 41 remained: Help other animals.

To complete that item, Emily says she will donate all his toys to local shelters, as well as raise funds for the RSPCA.

The fact is, there are millions of animals in need all over the world.

In the U.S. alone, 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters every year, and approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized.

Not every animal gets to live the joyous life that Buddy did, but every animal deserves to. And Buddy's memory is already dedicated to making life better for animals everywhere.

"A few people have been donating [to animal shelters] in his name," says Emily. "It's great to see that even through something as terrible as losing my best mate that there is still so much good coming from it."

If you'd like to help Buddy officially complete his bucket list, consider making a contribution to the ASPCA or any local shelter.

Helping animals live a better life is always the right thing to do. Even if you don't have a pet, do it for the millions of animals who need support. Do it for the memory of a dog who got to live his best life, despite his condition. Do it for Buddy.

"I know if he could understand what was going on, he would be proud," says Emily.

He sure would.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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