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The Beagle Bucket List: A Tail Wagging And Doggone Good Time

RODGERS FORGE, Md. (WJZ) — The term “bucket list” comes from a movie about two men fulfilling their dying wishes before they kick the bucket. But one local family is completing one of the most unusual bucket lists we’ve ever heard of.

Mike Schuh has the details.

When you approach the Shomali home in Rodgers Forge, you won’t be greeted by the sound of barking anymore. Their guard dog, Little Joe, no longer feels well enough to muster up a bark. Kathryne and Essam Shomali adopted L.J. just two years ago, but recently found out he had cancer.

L.J. has already undergone surgery, and Tuesday he will receive his fourth of six doggie chemotherapy treatments.

“L.J. is like family so it’s definitely a tough diagnosis for us,” said Kathryne Shomali.

The vet says he’s got maybe a year to live, but the Shomalis feel that prediction is no reason for L.J. to stop living.

“It’s called a bucket list, things you want to complete before you pass,” said Kathryne Shomali.

But it’s not the Shomali family’s bucket list, it’s L.J.’s.

Eat a Big Mac, have a candlelit steak dinner in the park, ride in a fire truck. eat an ice cream cone,  go on a blind date, bring a donation to an animal shelter, go to a puppy spa, go for a swim, ride in a motorcycle side car, have a birthday party with friends, meet a famous dog or police dog and donate to the Beagle Freedom Project are among the items on L.J.’s list.

They’ve knocked out about eight. Fire truck? Check. Ice cream cone? Easy. But the last item on the list? They hope L.J. can make it to December to meet their new baby.

The idea came when Kathryne heard about a similar situation that happened in England.

“I thought that’s awesome. That’s what we should do for L.J., and have a blast with the time he has left,” she said. “He loves all the attention and affection that people are giving him.”

They hope it may be enough to keep his tail wagging a lot longer than the doctors think.

WJZ thanks Jon Sham with The Baltimore Sun & Towson Times for use of the L.J. pictures.

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