We often create a bucket list of things we wish to do, experience and accomplish “before we die,” but that doesn't have to be the only criteria.
If you have a furry canine companion, you can also create a dog bucket list, so you can plan activities ahead and create experiences that you can treasure for the rest of both of your lives. Now let's think, if you were a dog, what would you put on your “essential things to do” list? Here are 12 great ideas to include in your dog bucket list:
1. Go On a Road Trip
Pulitzer prize-winning author John Steinbeck (“The Grapes of Wrath“), then 58, embarked on a cross-country road trip with his 10-year-old poodle, Charley, in the 1960s. Steinbeck's son said that his father wanted to take the road trip after being diagnosed with an illness. The author's adventures with Charley on the road became another best-selling book. But while not everyone can churn out a winning novel for this bucket list idea, you and your dog could be on an adventure of a lifetime as well if you go cross-country together. If you don’t know it yet, dogs are such eager and reliable companions on car road trips that you won't want to ever have anyone else with you.
2. Try Skydiving (Finally)
There aren't a lot of people who can say that they have tried skydiving, which is why it's usually on everybody's bucket list. And there are definitely not a lot of dogs that have done skydiving in particular, and the few brave canines that have tried are perhaps the coolest canines to exist. In the Navy, SEALS dogs have been trained to skydive and they seem very good at it too. A group of dogs in South Africa also have been skydiving to fend off poachers. If your dog has a daredevil streak then skydiving should be in his bucket list. It will be a different experience, for sure!
3. Get Pampered at the Doggie SPA
Give your dog a day of pampering at a doggie spa. These establishments don't do the usual bathing and grooming, as the staff pull all the stops to give pups a relaxing and rejuvenating treat that they sure to enjoy. Doggie SPAs have pet massages, facials, nail filing and polish services. Your dog could also enjoy a dip in a warm water bath filled with rose petals, while eating filet mignon. Some of the most luxurious doggie SPA cost anywhere between $50 to $200 a night, depending on the location and services offered.
4. Consult a Pet Psychic
Ever wonder what your dog is thinking about? Why not bring the pooch to an animal communicator or animal intuitive who could talk to dogs? Pet psychics like Bridget Pilloud have helped a lot of pet owners figure out what's up with their dogs. She's been doing this for 15 years and her bookings are filled up months in advance. Pilloud said in an interview that she understands the skepticism from people because there are things she don't believe in too. The pet psychic said that the dogs she came across have interesting stories to tell. Wouldn’t you like to know what’s your dog’s story?
5. Have a Birthday Pawty
Celebrate your dog's milestone with a doggie birthday party filled with games, balloons, party hats, doggy ice cream and the biggest birthday cake. Since this doesn't happen often, perhaps it's fine to indulge in the food, but if you worry about your dog's stomach upset then find a specialty shop that can prepare dog-friendly birthday treats. Take note, however, that a party can trigger stress, especially if the dogs aren't acquainted. It's best to invite dogs that your pooch already knows. If not, let your Fido be acquainted with the dogs first before you plan the party. Perhaps they can have a play-date or spend days in the dog park months before the big bash.
6. Visit Seniors at a Nursing Home
Studies show that dogs are extremely therapeutic, especially for the elderly and particularly if you have a therapy dog breed. Consider doing an outreach and bring your dog to a nursing home to cheer up the senior residents in there. It will be a therapeutic and rewarding experience for both humans and your pet. Make sure to arrange the visit with the administrators of the home, as some might allow dogs in the outdoor areas of the facility only but none are allowed inside. Groom your dog well before visiting the elders and always let your pets be on the leash when you’re there.
7. Join a Dog Yoga Class (“Doga”)
Dog yoga classes, also known as Doga, are becoming very popular. We've discussed the practice of Doga and all its benefits a few years ago, some of which have been scientifically proven. We've also had a known Doga instructor Anne Appleby on our podcast who mentioned why every pet owner must try it. Basically, it can be a healing and calming experience for both humans and canines. It can also increase the bond between the dogs and their owners. According to another dog yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri via Everyday Health, dogs will be able to pick up on their owners energy. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful connection to have with your pup?
8. Learn More About Your Dog's DNA
Is your dog of mixed breed? Wouldn't you like to finally find out more about his ancestry? Did you know that you can order a dog DNA test to find out his actual pedigree? It's easy to avail of the services online for a fee. DNA tests vary though and the cheapest ones don't provide a detailed analysis that will help owners learn of potential diseases, so pick your options carefully. Samantha has interviewed several professionals from the industry, and talked about the reliability and accuracy of these dog DNA tests with insiders, geneticists and veterinarians; here's one podcast to listen to.
9. Learn CPR for Dogs
If there's anything to put on a dog bucket list that's appropriate, then it's to learn how to do CPR for dogs. There are several ways to do it, but CPR classes for dogs are the best and most fun way; they also can save canine lives, literally. Check with your local veterinarian for some recommendations on where to enlist for such a class. If there's none, perhaps inquire from your local Red Cross chapter if they conduct Pet CPR training and if there are any local classes, why not ask your friends to join with their dogs, too? Make a day of it, and learn a valuable skill. You can also learn more about it in this guide beforehand just so you know what you're getting yourself (and your friends) into.
10. Get a Church Blessing on October 4th
Anybody who's religious, or at least interested in the idea, should mark October 4th on their calendar. It's the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals, and it's also World Animal Day. On that day, bring your dog to a Catholic Church. Most Catholic Churches around the world hold its annual pet blessing on this day. Why not try something you haven't before and see how your Fido likes it as well?
11. Take A Photo with Santa or Easter Bunny
Your dog probably doesn't yet know that Santa doesn't exist, so don't shatter this idea for him – get the pooch to meet this famous person. If your dog is comfortable with humans in costumes then why not take him to see Santa (or maybe the Easter Bunny) at the mall for a photo opportunity? If the pet is not comfortable around strange people, especially those in red suits and big bellies (or a fake bunny fur), then there's always the alternative — you can do a photoshoot at home with a professional pet photographer and employ your own dog photography skills for a fun shoot.
12. Learn a New Skill
Wouldn’t it be great if your dog knows how to use a skateboard, or jump rope, or play volleyball, or ride a bike? You might have seen dogs do this on YouTube (like here) and if you’re so inclined, you could spend time training your dog to learn one difficult skill. This takes a lot of dedication and time but you could be spending productive hours getting to know your dog better. There’s no need to rush this training too, because the most important thing is your dog is safe and you’re having fun together completing his bucket list.
Whatever you decide to do with your dog, remember that these loyal animals are technically easy to please. They will love you no matter what you do together, so just put something – anything – on your dog bucket list and let the adventures begin!
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