Border Collie with incurable cancer 'living her best life' thanks to bucket list

Meet Dolly, the Border Collie who’s been busy ticking off things on a fun bucket list her owner has drawn up for her.

Dolly has incurable stage four cancer, and after owner Sam Stanley got the terrible news in April, she knew she needed to do something special for her pal.

Now, Sam is all about making memories with Dolly – from taking a canoe ride in the Lake District to going on a road trip across the Scottish highlands.

After finding a lump in Dolly’s mammary glands, Sam, 30, took her to the vet where they surgically removed the invasive tumour.

But despite their best efforts, veterinarians informed Sam and her partner Danny Wragg, also 30, that cancer had spread to poor Dolly’s lymphatic system.

‘We were told that chemotherapy wouldn’t really do anything other than prolong her life, but it was hit or miss as to whether that was going to happen,’ said Sam.

‘So we’ve just decided to let her live her best life.’

So Sam wrote up a bucket list of all the things that she’d always wanted to do with Dolly, but hadn’t got around to.

Because the vets told the couple, who live in Darlington, that dogs with this kind of cancer usually live roughly eight more months, Sam rushed to make sure they covered the biggest things on her list first.

She said: ‘So to be honest, the bucket list, we did most of the big things thinking that we wouldn’t have her by Christmas last year.

‘So it is just the little things that we have to do now, that we need to add to it because she is doing better than we thought.’

Even though Dolly is very unwell, she’s still acting her normal happy-go-lucky self.

Sam says the pooch, who she has had since Dolly was just a pup, is ‘very loving and cuddly’ but also has her sassy moments.

‘She’s slowing down a little bit, I think she has moments of being tired, but she goes out with a dog walker on a Monday, and it sounds like she does backflips,’ added Sam.

Sam and Danny, a software manager, have been shocked by the cost of Dolly’s medical care.

They have got pet insurance, but Dolly’s treatment is totally cleaning out their annual policy.

This made Sam realise that other animal owners in situations like theirs may not be so fortunate.

That’s why Sam has decided to team up with her aunt, Julie Bell, and take on the London Marathon.

The pair will run the 26.2-mile race, which is set to take place on Sunday, April 23, to raise money for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).

Sam has set up a JustGiving page where she has already raised around £1,300, of the £1,900 goal.

Sam said: ‘Dolly’s vet bills were awful, but luckily we were able to pay the remainder of the bill, and we had pet insurance to cover a bulk of it – but not a lot of people do.

‘So that was quite upsetting to think “oh god, what would we have done if we didn’t have that”.

‘I decided to get a charity place to run with my auntie, and we’re both raising money for the PDSA, just because nobody should be in that position of worrying whether they can afford their vet bills.’

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