A Final Good-bye, Beloved Shelter Dog Who Enjoyed Fun Bucket List Has Died

A terminally ill shelter dog, who was able to enjoy loads of unconditional love and attention over the past several months, as well as fun bucket list, has passed away. News of Howard’s death was released on Monday by the Humane Society of Johnson County (HSJC).

The Indiana shelter wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our sweet, sweet HOWARD. We have peace in knowing he had an amazing last 6 months of life, the love of a family, a bucket list completed and fur friends from all around.

The shelter added:

This is the most difficult part of the job, we try our hardest to focus on the positive in these times, the tail wags, the kisses, and the pure love that these animals give us. With that said, we ask you go squeeze your 4 legged friend a little harder and more often today.

The beloved golden retriever was taken in at the shelter in August 2016. Howard had initially arrived at the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control as a stray before he was transferred to HSJC. Humane Society shelter staff immediately fell in love with the amiable senior dog, and hearts were shattered when a veterinary exam later revealed that Howard was stricken with terminal cancer.

HSJC wanted what remained of Howard’s life to be incredibly special, so they created a bucket list for him to enjoy. As the months passed, Howard was treated to a variety of activities, ranging from being an honorary fire dog, to enjoying ice cream at Mrs. Curls.

In less than a year’s time, Howard managed to impact many people who knew him personally, and from afar. Howard leaves behind a legacy – thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, nearly $2,000 was raised in order to help other sick animals have the opportunity to experience joy at the end of their life…just like Howard did.

Prior article about Howard at this link.

(Photos via Humane Society of Johnson County)


Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at Examiner.com for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. Wanda Smith says:

    What a beautiful and loving story. It really takes someone with a big heart, full and running over with love for animals, to love one like Howard this much til the end. It just melted my heart. There should be more people like these throughout our nation to step up, an love, protect, and make the final months, weeks, and days that a dog or cat has left the best the will have. This was a perfect example. Run free Howard……Run free boy.

  2. Tammy McNamara says:

    RIP sweet boy! You are free of pain and can run till your heart is content. My daughter told when she was a little girl that she could she our passed away dogs as angles around us.

  3. Martha Jones says:

    They’re never with us long enough. Play hard now Howard and take lots of naps <3

  4. Barbara Walker says:

    Why is it, that we humans become so absolutely besotted when it comes to animals in our lives? I cried thru that entire video—I have lost so many wonderful, loving animals, and still cry at their memory—all my cats are 17 now, and I know what’s coming——the oldest lived to 21—not bad for a kitty—but, we, as humans, just love our animals like no other—-so it is with deep respect and love, that I salute the people that gave this sweet dog his day—-what a lovely thing to do—Thank you, so much—-

  5. Vicky Corrales says:

    RIP sweet Howard. Run pain free across the Rainbow Bridge!

  6. Barbara Jo Ewing says:

    Sweet Howard – you will be loved by many on Facebook after they read this article – so ole guy your heart will be overflowed with so much love and prayers – run free with all our furry friends forever and always until we all meet again. Love yah 😪💔🐶🐾🐾🙏🏻

  7. Edward says:


  8. Ann says:

    Rest in peace sweet boy. Im glad u were able to enjoy so much in your last days on Earth. See u at the rainbow bridge.

  9. Carol W says:

    Rest In Peace Sweetheart💔 I am so glad you got to be loved❣️

  10. David Mckenzie says:

    Rest In Peace dear sweet Howard you were loved by so many . you will be remembered by the many who loved you . sleep now with no more pain ,safe in the arms of angels up above , A beautiful bright new star shining down on all your loved ones , God Bless you Howard , XXX,

  11. M Mcardle says:

    R.I.P sweet angel fly high with all the other fur Angels , my Cindy will meet you at the gate to show you were your bed is . Safe in the arms off God run free from pain can’t stop crying poor baby 🐾🐾💔💔💔💔💔💔💔

  12. Nicole Nirvana says:

    I cried the entire video, we love you and miss you Howard. Rest in Paradise with the other fur babies.

  13. ann rhinesmith says:

    God bless every one involved in making Howards remaining days so meaningful and above all making him feel loved and cherished.

  14. Jennifer Devereaux says:

    “There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.”

    Susan Clothier

    Please know my heart is with you…

  15. Mama to 3 beautiful pups 🐾 says:

    “No one can truly understand the bond we form with the animals we love until they experience the loss of one.”
    Godspeed sweet Howard. You were truly loved. ❤

  16. Joyce Rowland says:

    Be at peace, sweet Howard, in the garden of our Lord, just across the Rainbow Bridge. My JD is waiting there to say hello!

    1. Kim says:

      Double that!! RIP Howard… 😥

  17. Dee says:

    I am so happy howard got to live to the end. I am going to live until i die. Bless u all

  18. miguel madrid says:


  19. Khrista says:

    May rest in peace

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