Caring ‘fospice’ pet parent creates bucket list for shelter dog diagnosed with cancer

On a mid-summer day this year, a senior dog arrived at Young-Williams Animal Center after she was discovered alone on recently sold property. She was very thin, and the shelter staff decided it would be best if she could be cared for by one of our dog fosters, so she could get some much-needed one-on-one attention. A foster stepped up, and this sweet girl got a name: Lala.

Lala and her foster dad spent some nice time together; he worked hard to get Lala to eat, but her appetite was very low. He soon noticed a bulge in her stomach and, when she came back to the shelter for an examination, our veterinarians found a tumor on her spleen. They believed Lala was a good candidate for surgery and knew her quality of life would be improved after removing the mass, so her procedure was scheduled. Improve it did! Her appetite was much better after the surgery, and she began to gain weight.

Her foster dad returned to work after Lala recovered from surgery, and it was then discovered that Lala suffered from severe separation anxiety. While he loved her dearly, her foster dad realized it would be best if Lala could find a foster family that could spend more time with her at home.

Our foster department worked with available volunteers to find a great fit. At this time, it was determined that Lala was ill with cancer, and she was a candidate for “fospice” – looking for both a foster and a hospice helper. Her prognosis was believed to be several weeks to several months, and we wanted her last days to be spent happy, safe and comfortable.

Lala moved into her new foster’s home, a seasoned “fospice” foster parent. Not surprisingly, they totally fell in love with Lala and decided to make the experience extra special for an extra special girl.

“None of us know just how long this sweet girl will be with us,” says her foster mom, “so we decided to make a bucket list designed especially for her.”

Lala’s bucket list was created – and she’s even gotten a few items checked off already!

  1. Go on a treat shopping trip. (completed!)
  2. Have a steak dinner. (completed!)
  3. Have a salon day with pedicure. (completed!)
  4. Have her portrait painting done. (completed!)
  5. Go on a picnic.
  6. Go out for doggy ice cream.
  7. Have a spa day. (completed!)
  8. Be a treat taster for the day.
  9. Visit local landmarks.
  10. Be a canine officer for the day (completed!)

Her foster mom says: “From the first day we met her, she immediately accepted us. Her sweet, calm demeanor captivates everyone who meets her. Lala enjoys companionship so much that she complies with everything completely. She is a very quiet girl but speaks softly with her eyes.”

Lala, we have happy tears in our eyes knowing the generous love you will experience in your final days. We give a heartfelt thank you to her foster family for giving Lala all the love she could ever hope to receive.

You can help animals just like Lala by contacting our foster department and becoming a “fospice” parent or by making a donation to support Young-Williams Animal Center’s mission at