His beloved chocolate lab only had three to six months to live. So what did Robert Kugler end up doing? He decided to give his baby an epic farewell adventure that both him and especially his dog would totally enjoy.
Her name is Bella and in May 2105, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a leg removed.
Heres what Robert said about the tragic news:
They said this is the worst news I could give you; she had advanced osteosarcoma and its already in her lungs so you need to either take her leg today or put her down.
Bella was 9 and after they did the surgery, the vets said she only had a few months left to live. Robert just finished school, and made the decision to take his beloved Bella on a cross-country trip.
Being a Marine Corps veteran, Robert took his pooch to the Marine Corps Ball in Chicago. They then went to the North East before heading down to Florida.
Finally, it was time to head back on home. Yet the trip just did not seem finished.
Heres how Robert describes it:
We lingered at home for nearly three months, working a little, trying to put the story together to share it. But it didnt feel complete. She was still here, with so much life left. So, when the chance came to give a bud a ride to North Carolina, I decided to finish the southern route and make it to the Keys, which we did!
And now, after 16 months, they are still driving across the country!
Robert talks about life and loss, and going with what feels to be your purpose.
I feel like right now this is my purpose. The chapter in my life right now is just exploring with my dog. I lost my brother in Iraq in 2007 and my oldest sister in a car accident two Easters ago. When you see lives end shortly before people get to do many of things they dream of doing, it changes your perspective on life.
Heres Robert on taking life by the horns and rolling with it:
I just saw firsthand what happens when you dont do what you want to do in your life and thats that you dont get to do it.
Hes received a lot of encouragement from others as well.
Please dont stop, keep going. In any way that we can help let us know. And the biggest way is just to have a place to crash when we hit their area.
Heres one of Roberts favorite moments:
[We were] hiking in the Adirondacks when Bella insisted on coming up to the waterfall with me and a friend I had made in town. Once she got up there she couldnt make it down. I tried showing her a few options that I thought would be a good route and she looked at me like Dad, I need help. Something about being scooping her up and carrying her off of the rocks and across the water really strengthened the bond at that very moment. As if I were telling her I got you, and I always will.’
What an amazing journey. All the best to Robert and Bella, and hopefully they can keep going and keep enjoying their time together.
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