Danny’s Bark-It List: a bucket list by a muttville hospice dog

May 1st, 201312:17 pm @


danny muttville

i’m danny and i’m awesome.

i’m danny, a senior dog in hospice care with  muttville senior dog rescue foster family, russell and marie. they helped me put together my Bark-It List and they also help me fulfill my wishes too! check back often for updates and pictures to see my wishes coming true.

when my fospice family told me I had cancer, i decided to make certain that every day is awesome. not one day goes by without a little merry-making, a little adventure, and a lot of love.

i love my life: i roll in tall grass, i hang my head out the car window and i snack on chicken feet.  but you are just as likely to find me lost in thought, contemplating the meaning of my dew claws…

my message to you:
make every day awesome!


how did danny become a Muttville hospice dog?

Rescued by muttville senior dog rescue in february 2013, danny boy, a senior cattle dog mix, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a type of blood and bone cancer) while in foster care at small club with russell and marie. that means he is in a special category of hospice and foster, aka fospice. we humans happily committed to give danny the best days any mutt could have until his time runs out. we made a deal with him: as long as he feels well, we will help him live life to the fullest and check things off his bark-it list. danny promised to tell us as soon as he can’t do the things that bring him joy, and then we will give him the gift of a sweet goodbye. we intend to make sure that his last days are, as danny would say, awesome.
danny will never suffer through chemotherapy. instead, his care protocol is intended to help him feel his best day to day. danny will feel comfortable and happy-and experience great quality of life- whether the quantity of time is weeks, months or a year. currently, he is thriving on a homemade diet and chinese herbs prescribed for him by dr. adam at healthy pets veterinary hospital. go danny!

danny’s bark-it list:

danny and his foster family try to fulfill things on his bark-it list often. some require a few days, a road trip, or a little planning. – plus we have to make sure danny feels ok for the adventure. each time he fulfills one of his wishes, he writes a blog about it. so be sure to click the link on the items we marked “CHECK!” to read more about his wish coming true… the humans are doing their best to get danny’s pictures and videos of his adventures shared here- if you don’t want to miss the next update, please subscribe to the RSS feed – there are so many more lovable danny moments to come! Woof!

1. be a dogster hero: CHECK!

this dog is a dogster hero!

i’m a dogster hero!


it’s a dream come true… my smug mug splattered all over an excellent dog magazine called dogster, along with an interview about how i’ve managed to thrive without chemo in the face of cancer, and  how i’m seeking donations to help other hospice dogs – look at the next item on this list… yup, i’m one of the Dogster Heroes!




2. raise $3000 to help other hospice dogs …ongoing!

I want other dogs in Muttville’s hospice program to have the chance to check off something from their bark-it lists. So I started Danny’s Bark-It List Fund!  your donations will help a retriever with cancer spend a day at the beach, or a shih tzu with kidney disease enjoy a juicy burger. find out more and donate to Danny’s Bark-It List Fund here! I reached my goal of $1000! Thank you all for seeing the value in what I am doing… Let’s keep it going. I just upped my goal to $3000 to grant wishes to future hospice dogs at Muttville. Let’s make every day awesome for them!


3. be a model for a day: CHECK!

ellen the photographer giving me her vision for my photo shoot

ellen my photographer showing me her vision for my photo shoot

thanks to ellen at j’adore le chien pet photography! click here to see photos from that day








4. attend a fancy fundraiser: CHECK!

danny representing senior dogs at petchitecture 2013

danny representing senior dogs at Petchitecture 2013

i tried to be on my best behavior  at Petchitecture 2013, the fundraiser for Pets Are Wonderful Support… but wearing a tie does not guarantee that i won’t try to steal your hors d’oeuvres.







5. swim in a barrel of treats at my favorite local hangout, pawtrero: CHECK!

i'll take this one, thanks!

i’ll take this this one, thanks!


yes, i am inside a barrel of treats. no, i didn’t get in trouble.






6. be art: CHECK!

i'm art!

i’m art!

dapper dog press made a linocut card with my handsome image.







7. march in a parade: CHECK!

all these people came out to cheer for me, right?

all these people came out to cheer for me, right?

Not just any parade – I was in the san francisco pride parade! how many million people came out to see me? i am even more popular than i thought!







8. eat like a caveman: CHECK!

i gnawed on a raw emu neck, a gift from my friends at SF Raw Feeders Cooperative … you can watch the video here – it’s an emu neck, people, a NECK!


9. flirt with pretty ladies: CHECK!

here is one of my many girl watching excursions.

10. visit the state capitol sacramento and wade in the american river: CHECK!

11. take my family on a picnic: CHECK!

12. cruise down country roads with my head out the car window

13. live like a horse on a ranch for a day: CHECK!

pictures coming soon!

14. buy crab off the boat in half moon bay and eat it fresh: CHECK!

danny boy eats fresh crab

if loving to eat fresh crab with the shell on is wrong, i don’t wanna be right









15. meet a doggie girlfriend

16. get a massage: CHECK!

17. eat a doggie donut at dynamo donuts

18. find fresh farm eggs from happy chickens… and then eat the eggs: CHECK!

dannyboy. finding farm fresh eggs on the side of the road. yum copy






19. go on a road trip: CHECK!

20. spend a sunny day at the beach: CHECK!

21. have happy hour with my friends: CHECK!

22. help other dogs with cancer feel better. any ideas for me? post in the comments!

how is danny doing? (check back here often for updates)

 may 2014: danny crossed the bridge to the other side on may 13, 2014. he lived joyfully until his last breath on earth, and we are deeply grateful to him for showing us how much he loved his life, even in his final hour. danny is an inspiration to stop thinking so much about tomorrow and give it your all today – it didn’t matter that this was his last hike, it mattered that he loved it and he did it.

his heartfelt Muttville Success Story written by his foster mom marie was published at the beginning of may, and it sums up danny’s time with us beautifully. we will miss our awesome boy – as marie describes him, “…when he is outside, basking in the warmth of the sun, wading his feet in shallow water, or romping through tall grass, he is beyond happy. He is perfect. And he is invincible!”

danny’s story is not over. before he left, he asked us to do 2 things:

1. thank every one of you for supporting him whether near or far,  thank his friends for being there for him in good times (and nauseous times, too), thank sherri franklin and everybody at muttville for saving his life when he was alone at the shelter, thank dr. ilana, dr. adam and everyone at healthy pets vet for their loving and thorough care, and thank the universe for allowing him to share one magnificent day after another with us.

2. fulfill his wish to complete Item #2 on his Bark-It List: grant wishes to other dying dogs via his Bark-It List Fund for Muttville Hospice Dogs. We will proudly carry on his legacy of fun by funding a wish from each dog’s own bucket list – so far requests include a pizza party, a spa day, and my favorite, “i wanna eat 10 hamburgers at once.”  we will bring danny’s message for hospice dogs to each of these special recipients – short time or long time, as long as it’s a good time! Learn how to donate to the Bark-It List Fund for Muttville Hospice Dogs.


april 2014: we received unfortunate news: danny’s kidneys are beginning to fail. dr. adam has ordered daily fluids and he is still on sulcralfate and pepcid. we wish his appetite would increase but the toxins are taking over and his stomach is feeling worse. he wants to eat, but every food makes him feel sick. we’re overjoyed when we find a food he will eat but so far after one time, he won’t try the same food  again. our friend has an irresistible meatloaf recipe that danny loves. we tried that, and we got the turned up nose.  the following day was Saturday and we decided to have an all day picnic in a quiet grassy sunny spot. danny smiled and romped around all day with his canine family. he forgot all his worries and he ate the meatloaf! boy were we happy! it was one of his best days in a long time….. here is a photo of Danny on the ride home after his fun Saturday.

 march 2014: danny’s cancer has always affected his digestive system, and we think this time around the cancer has hit him hard. we had a few emergency visits from the vet and he was in need of sucralfate and cerenia to help him eat. after a week of sleepless nights, we think he is finally stable but his appetite is not the same and finding foods that don’t make him nauseous is a challenge. he will only tolerate a few of his herbs that were keeping him going. we know this is a sign of the progress of his cancer. he is still joyful when he goes on his daily romp in the sun and tall grass. as long as he still smiles when its time to go out,  we let out a sigh of relief. but we do take it day by day. here is a photo of Danny when he was feeling well enough to enjoy an adventure again.

february 2014: danny boy is going strong! we can’t explain exactly why he looks and feels so great in spite of showing horrible imbalances in his blood tests.  but we are certain that without a diet of fresh whole foods, his herbs, supplements and low-dose antibiotics, extra broth and coconut water to hydrate,  and – OF COURSE his daily efforts to do something that makes him incredibly happy, he would have been overwhelmed by the cancer and it’s complications long ago. he had a rough week in january and went to see his vets at SF Healthy Pets for the first time in many months. thanks to their powerful combination of western, eastern, alternative medicine, and state of the art diagnostic equipment  like ultrasound onsite, danny made a strong recovery. he was suffereing from a tough case of diarrhea, dehydration, inflammation and minor infection – what brings down a dog with cancer is often the secondary problems it presents, not the cancer itself.  danny was not ready to go yet – so he took his flagyl, ate his chicken soup, and manned up for some b-12 shots. now he’s feels as good as he ever has. in fact, he just started a fundraising effort to help other muttville hospice dogs fulfill their dreams… check it out here.

november 2013: danny has gained a few pounds of muscle and is more robust than ever. some days he feels under the weather and he eats some chicken soup, but most days he is ready to live it up! he continues to eat organic homemade small club stew and takes supplements like Standard Process Whole Body Support and a Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formula called 8 Treasures to tonify his blood and strengthen his qi. it works! here is danny doing one of his favorite things when he goes out on his adventures.

do you have suggestions for danny?

add items to his bark-it list in the comments!