Shelter Treats Cancer-Stricken Homeless Dog To Special Bucket List

A special dog, who lost his home when his former owners moved, and then a two subsequent adoptive homes (including one who returned him to the shelter because he was sick) is being treated to a special bucket list by staff and volunteers at an Arizona animal shelter. Rocko has been diagnosed with incurable lymphosarcoma – a cancer which will claim his life, though nobody is certain when.

Though Rocko has been given a grim diagnosis, staff and volunteers at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) are determined to make what remains of his life special. Melissa Gable, public information officer at MCACC, explained, “We don’t know how much longer he has. So we’re trying to move as quickly as possible.” On Friday, Rocko enjoyed his first bucket-list item…a ride on a Mesa fire engine.

After the fun outing, Creative Contributions, a group of dedicated volunteers who have been helping Rocko, acknowledged the efforts of the Mesa Fire Department, “Kudos to Mesa Fire. They gave Rocko a ride on one of their engines and made him a rock star.”

More fun is in store for Rocko – on Saturday, January 21, a brunch to celebrate Rocko’s life (WITH Rocko) is scheduled in Phoenix (attendees are asked to leave their own four-legged friends at home as Rocko enjoys being the solo star of the show).

Additional outings may include a visit to a Phoenix Suns’ practice, and possibly running bases at the Cubs spring training facility, reported 12 News. The shelter is accepting suggestions from the public for Rocko’s bucket list – click here to find the MCACC Facebook page.

When Rocko isn’t busy adventuring, he is being loved by his foster dad, Michael Mosteller, who acknowledges that it will be exceptionally hard to say good-bye to this special dog.

No time for tears however – Rocko doesn’t know that he is sick and those who love him have no intention of letting on. Right now, Rocko is enjoying each day as it comes – as it should be.

Find MCACC’s website here. Find Creative Contributions here.

(Photos via Facebook – MCACC and Creative Contributions)




Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at 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. Alice says:

    So sweet and wonderful that you and all have put together a bucket list for Rocko. Thank you to all involved in this wonderful act of love to Rocko, as he will remember his amazing day and his amazing friends who love him so much to do this for him. God Bless Everyone.

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