A former Marine who couldn’t bear the thought of putting down his beloved terminally ill chocolate Labrador has embarked on a “farewell tour” with her, which currently has them in Florida. Robert Kugler and his dog Bella, who he adopted nine years ago, began their journey in Chicago and have kept going east, WOWT6 reported.
Kugler was told in May that a suspected shoulder injury in Bella was actually advanced osteosarcoma.
“They said this is the worst news I could give you; she had advanced osteosarcoma and it’s already in her lungs so you need to either take her leg today or put her down,” Kugler told WOWT6. “I just didn’t want her to be gone one day when I came home.”
The pair have traveled from their home in Nebraska to Cleveland, Niagra Falls, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Washington D.C., Georgia, South Beach and other stops in Florida. Along the way they’ve camped, gone swimming, eaten pie and taken in a baseball game at Turner Field.
Kugler told WOWT6 that the kindness of friends and strangers has helped them keep going.
“I feel like right now this is my purpose. It’s the chapter in my life right now is just exploring with my dog,” he told the news site. Vets initially told him Bella would only have six months to live, but they’re currently on month 14.
“I just saw firsthand what happens when you don’t do what you want to do in your life and that’s that you don’t get to do it,” he said.