Petey, Wilmington dog with cancer who had bucket list, dies at 3

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 11:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Petey, a dog whose owner made him a bucket list after learning of his terminal cancer, died peacefully over the weekend. He was three years old.


Sarah Smith, a veterinary assistant, owns Petey, a three-year-old rescue. When Sarah first met Petey, he wasn’t healthy enough to go to the county’s animal shelter.

“When he arrived at the veterinary office that I was working at at the time, he was severely emaciated and just really unwell,” said Smith.

Sarah’s family has embraced the pitbull over the last several years. Then, they got the unfortunate news this past June — Petey was diagnosed with canine lymphoma.

Now, Sarah has a new perspective on the life she wants to live with her dog.

“I realized that I had just missed the last two months of his life because I was too busy being his nurse and I didn’t get the chance to be his owner,” said Smith.

So, she went to social media and posted a bucket list for Petey with items for him to accomplish, such as sitting in a fire truck, going for a swim and even meeting a celebrity.

Petey got to cross the latter one off the list after meeting a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

“If there’s anything we’ve learned during this pandemic, it’s that small acts of kindness are important and I had some legislative stuff to do this afternoon but it will wait,” said Deb Butler, member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

With one item complete off the list, Sarah is determined to go for it all. It’s about bringing joy to a four-legged family member who brought so much joy to her

“So, our plan right now is to do as much as we can with him, spend as much time with him as we possibly can, and not so much focus on intense alternative treatments, but really keeping him comfortable and making sure that he is having a good time,” said Smith.

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