Trying to find an affordable apartment in Manhattan can be a challenge, even for a resident New Yorker. For 25 year old Lauren Watt, relocating from Nashville to the Big Apple with a 160-pound English Mastiff, this seemed to be daunting. With encouragement from a friend (who became a roommate!) Lauren found just the right fit in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and started a new job. Lots of changes for her in a short period of time.

It wasn’t the move to New York or even Lauren’s sketchy relationship with her mother (who was battling addiction) that rocked her world—it was the surprising discovery that her big dog, Gizelle, was diagnosed with cancer and had just a few months to live.

Lauren found a way to cope with her sadness and the inevitable parting by sharing her story on the Internet with the creation of “Gizelle’s Bucket List.” This became a selection of activities that she wanted to share with her dying dog while there was still time.

With wonderful, caring friends and support from her family and new boyfriend, Lauren sought to enjoy the simple, sweet moments like sharing a frozen treat and walking on the beach. To Lauren, it was not about completing the bucket list, but the journey together with Gizelle which strengthened her for the challenges ahead.

The book’s epilogue states it best:   “If I could find a way to live my life with her spirit and the unconditional love Gizelle showed me, I will have made it.”  [p.239] If you would like to view the journey of Lauen and Gizelle, please visit She also has Facebook and Instagram links with her current activities.

Our pets are wonderful companions, and Lauren Watt’s book encourages us to savor the moments we share and have a positive action plan when their death approaches. Readalikes for Gizelle’s Bucket List that demonstrate the close bond with our pets include “Oogy: the dog only a family could love” by Larry Levin, “Katie: up and down the hall” by Glenn Plaskin, and “Chosen by a Horse” by Susan Richards.