A family in Duluth, Minnesota, is helping their pet Corgi, Oscar, complete a bucket list created for him after he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Oscar, 11, went in for a routine teeth cleaning at the Duluth Veterinary Hospital early last July, when Dr. Lisa Juten noticed a tumor that later tests revealed to be malignant, she told ABC News. Oscar's owner, Tom Asbury, asked the vet if they could do any chemotherapy, and she said the cancer was too aggressive and that such treatments could actually make him sicker.
"She told us he had three to six months left," Asbury, 35, told ABC News. "Rather than trying treatments that likely wouldn't buy him much time or could even make him sicker, she suggested that we just take him to the beach, give him ice cream and enjoy the few months we had left with Oscar instead.
Juten's suggestion inspired Asbury to start a conversation with his wife, Lindsey Asbury, and their two young girls about what they thought Oscar would like to do in the time he had left, Asbury explained. The family thought of different things Oscar could do in and around their hometown, and the girls wrote the official bucket list down, he said.
"Any time there's a terminal diagnosis, there are one of two paths you can take -- either get really upset and sad or embrace it," Juten said. "And these wonderful people took the route of celebrating him, and I'm happy for what they chose. It's a great path for him."
Oscar has completed most of the list -- go on a kayak ride, eat ice cream, visit the Enger tower, cross the town's aerial lift bridge, swim in Lake Superior, go camping, play in the backyard and take a ride in the car -- but there's one thing he has left to do.
"He's done everything but meet another Corgi," Asbury said. "We realized he hasn't met another Corgi since the litter mates he was with at birth. But recently, we've been getting emails from people in the town with Corgis ever since a local story on him went up. It looks like he's going to have one great play-date."
Oscar has been with the Asbury family since the year after Tom Asbury and his wife Lindsey got married, he said.
"My wife and I got him when he was a puppy, and he's been with us through a lot of moves from Ohio to Minnesota," Tom Asbury said. "He's a good, little pup. When we started having kids, he was very protective over them.
"Since Corgis are herding dogs, he would also herd them where he wanted them to be as babies and to this day, he sleeps under their bed and protects them in the way a little dog like him can."
Asbury said that his family and their other pet Pomeranian, Lilo, are going to miss Oscar when he's gone. But he's hopeful they'll see him again one day.
"There's nothing specific in the Bible whether dogs go to heaven," said Asbury, a pastor of East Ridge Church in Duluth. "But God says that in heaven, there's happiness and no more tears, and that for me would be whole bunch of Corgis running around because they really just make me happy."