Dog 'living her best life' as owner comes up with bucket list following incurable cancer diagnosis

Dolly's owner Samantha Stanley is making sure she is 'living her best life' after being diagnosed with incurable cancer. Credit: Gazette Media

The owner of a border collie diagnosed with incurable cancer is making sure she is "living her best life" after coming up with a bucket list.

Samantha Stanley was told last April her dog Dolly had incurable stage four cancer.

Having discovered a lump in Dolly's mammary glands, a visit to the vet saw the invasive tumour removed with surgery, however, despite their best efforts, veterinarians informed Ms Stanley and her partner Danny Wragg, 30, that it had spread into their pup's lymphatic system.

Ms Stanley has now come up with a bucket list of activities to make sure they make the most of their time together, from a canoe ride in the Lake District to a road trip across the Scottish highlands.

The 30-year-old office manager is also taking part in the London Marathon to raise money for charity People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).

She said: "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.

"So we've just decided to let her live her best life."

Dolly the border collie had a canoe ride in the Lake District. Credit: Gazette Media

Following Dolly's initial diagnosis, veterinarians told the couple, who live in Darlington, that dogs with this form of cancer have a life expectancy of around eight months.

She added: "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."

Although still very poorly, Dolly has not let this diagnosis stop her from being her normal happy self.

Ms Stanley added: "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."

The cost of Dolly's medical care was a shock to the couple and while they have pet insurance, Ms Stanley realised other owners in a similar situation may not be so lucky.

As a result, she decided to join forces with her aunt, Julie Bell, and sign up for the London Marathon on April 23, to raise money for the PDSA.

Sam Stanley and Danny Wragg are making the most of their time with Dolly. Credit: Gazette Media

To coincide with the marathon, Sam has set up a JustGiving page where she has already raised around £1,400, with the hopes of hitting the £2,000 goal.

She added: "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'. So 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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