The best advice I’ve ever given to dog parents


– JANUARY 19, 2022 –

Hello, adventure fam! It has been a *hot* minute since I’ve invested time and energy into my blog and website in general, so here I am – showing up!

This year I’ll be attempting to write a blog entry each month to share insight, discuss the merits of photography, and generally help inspire you fur parents out there to do more with your pups.

In the past, I’ve blogged about why you should hire a professional photographer, why you should make prints, and blah blah blah; but I don’t think it’s necessarily what you fine folks want to hear. It’s all good and well, but it doesn’t quite help *everybody* that has a dog. (Note – you can still check out all those same blogs if you have time to kill – it’s all great information!) With that, I’ll be pivoting on my topics this year.

So to start off this year right, I thought I’d share the best advice I’ve ever given to dog parents. It’s something I try to discuss with every parent during my sessions, especially those with older or terminal pups.

What’s the advice, you ask?

It’s simple…

Make a bucket list for your dog!

Allow me to elaborate.

The overarching idea here is that we never know how much time we’ll get with our dogs, so we need to make the most of what we have. I’ve known for dogs to live long and happy lives, only passing away due to natural causes. However, I’ve also known dogs to get hit by cars, stolen from their yards, or eat something toxic. There are also many dogs that pass away from a myriad of health complications, such as heart conditions and cancer.

Again, you can never know just how much time you have with your pup, so you need to celebrate your time together as much as you can. That’s where the bucket list comes in.

So what is a dog bucket list, and what all should it contain?

For those that don’t know, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die. In the case of your pup, it would be all the things you want for them to experience before they cross the rainbow bridge. The list can contain anything from places to go, experiences to experience, food to eat, and general things to do.

As an example – when my own girl Juneau was diagnosed with a thyroid tumor in 2018, we knew our time with her was limited. Since she already had a life full of adventure, our specific bucket list for her was food-related. Specifically, it was to have her try as many foods as possible that we thought she’d be interested in and things we would never let her try normally.

Notable meals for Juneau included a Happy Meal from McDonald’s, a roast beef sandwich from Arby’s, a chicken sandwich and waffle fries from Chick-fil-a, chicken nuggets and a vanilla frosty from Wendy’s, and homecooked meals like bacon and eggs, elk, and of course, steak.

(Fun fact about the Happy Meal – the order in which she went through the meal was lapping up the vanilla shake first, french fries second, hamburger buns third, and the hamburger patty itself last. Surprised? I was at first, but thinking about it more, not surprised at all :P)

husky with half of its head sticking out of the back window of a car

Another example is my baby boy Kylo, where the two of us went on an epic road trip to take awesome photos and share a lot of new adventures together. You can read all about that trip here.

Your dog bucket list doesn’t need to be huge, nor expensive, nor something that will set you back financially. For some of the Juneau’s Rainbow Award sessions I’ve done, a lot of dog parents have talked about going to favorite places like the beach, epic road trips to faraway parks, and simple things like more dog time on the bed or extra cuddles.

Do what they love

All you really have to do is think about what your dog loves doing the most and do more of that. Loves to walk? Find new trails and new smells. Loves food? Bring a new kind of food to try every once in a while. Loves cuddles? Get a new soft blanket to enjoy together.

No matter what you do, it will always be worth it. If your dog lives to the full length of its average lifespan, then that’s all the more memories you have together. If your dog is involved in a tragic accident or passes away early due to health, then at least you have those memories you lived earlier from your bucket list.

So no matter what, you’ll be spending quality time with your dog and making the most of it. There’s no ‘lose’ situation here – it’s always a ‘win’ when you’re spending time with your dog.

As a quick plug for Adventure Pup Photography (I know, I know, but I gotta pay the bills!), I treat each session as an opportunity to capture moments that become memories. Regardless of how long your dog lives, you will absolutely never regret having great photos of them. Even better, they’re artisan photos that can be displayed anywhere in your house in any format, so you can always remember the good times with your pup.

When a dog crosses the rainbow bridge, there are three common regrets that they have: they didn’t spend more time with their dogs, they didn’t take them to more places, and you guessed it – they wish they had better photos of them. With an Adventure Pup session, you get to satisfy all three of those regrets, even if it’s just for an evening.

So what do you think?

Have you created a dog bucket list yet? If not, do you have some ideas for putting one together?

I’m sharing stories like these all the time on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, so feel free to share your thoughts there or send me a message if you want to connect and have a deeper dive into what you can do to celebrate your pup!

Until next time, adventure fam – take care of yourselves and each other!

– Chris, Adventure Pup Photography

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