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Give These Older Dogs The Best Golden Years Ever

These senior pooches want more than just belly rubs before they go to that great big dog park in the sky. Help bring their doggie bucket list to life.

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Imagine if every dog had its own bucket list, or “Bark-It List,” and was treated like a rock star.

In San Francisco, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue grants Bark-It List wishes to dogs that qualify for "fospice," living in foster households willing to provide end-of-life care while still receiving hospice and veterinary treatment from Muttville.

This lucky dog, a 12-year-old dachshund named Tommy G., wants to eat 10 In­-N-­Out cheeseburgers in one sitting.

Fuzzy-faced Peggy says dog hospice is not depressing, it's inspiring. So there!

"We can tend to focus too much on the sad side of hospice, especially when we see the decline in our dogs' health," said Marie Macaspac, a design and marketing staffer for Muttville. "But there is an upside. They help us learn to value time.

"If the older dogs' days are numbered, it's our job to make sure their last days are their best days ever."

Peggy, a 10-year-old Brussels griffon mix, hopes to get a steak dinner at a dog-friendly restaurant with her fospice family.

Danny Boy was the first to finish his Bark-It List.

Doesn't Danny Boy look handsome in a bow tie? His caregivers, Russell Ulrey (pictured above) and Marie (pictured below), came up with the idea of a Bark-It List after the 13-year-old Australian cattle dog mix was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells located in his bone marrow.

"Seeing how joyful Danny Boy was when he went out for a hike, and the huge difference it made in how he felt physically, it inspired us to sit down and come up with a bucket list," Russell said.

Danny Boy hung out at the beach with his buddies and even got his own glamorous photo shoot.

Here are (from left to right) Gracie, Calvin, Ocean and Danny Boy taking a break amidst the redwoods near Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Danny Boy checked off 20 things on his Bark-It List before he died on May 13, more than a year after his diagnosis.

Nubia was the next Bark-It List pooch. She had a doggie spa day.

"People think we're making this stuff up, but she loved it," said Marie, who's fostering the 12-year-old Shih Tzu with Russell.

After her wash, haircut and purple pedicure, Nubia pranced around, wagging her tail and smiling. She has terminal cancer.

So what might your dog like on a Bark-It List?

"You know your dog and what they love to do," said Russell, "so use that information to pick something they really enjoy. You're trying to feel what they're trying to 'say.' I know that sounds so weird, but it's true with them."

Ricky, an eight-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix with an enlarged heart and seizure disorder, hopes to have a pizza date with his niece, as you can see below.

Jasmine is not gonna let skin cancer stop her from making every day awesome.

Goofy, adventurous and friendly to all, the seven-year-old pointer-pit bull mix has been chewing on a lifetime supply of raw marrow bones as part of her Bark-It List. (Poor Jasmine had been gnawing on her itchy skin cancer lesions before.)

Rosie says that having a doggie bucket list really does matter.

So does Russell. "I think that now that [the older dogs] need us, they deserve to be cared for and loved," he said. "Part of giving them the best care is doing an activity that makes them feel happy and special and joyful."

For spotlight-loving Rosie, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu mix with cancer, that meant strutting her stuff at a doggie fashion show.

Why not grant wishes for all of Muttville's hospice dogs?

About 80 percent of the donations Muttville receives go toward medical care for all of the rescue's dogs, including manageable health conditions that have never been treated. (Dental care alone costs roughly $2,000 for each admitted dog.)

Murray, a 12-year-old yellow Lab with spindle cell cancer, wants all his human and canine pals (the Muttville volunteers and dogs) to enjoy a barbecue together. Save a big bag of white cheddar Cheez-It crackers for Murray!

To give to the Bark-It List fund and learn more about these sweet senior dogs, you can visit rally.org/dannysbarkitlist.

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