What is live like Calvin?
#livelikeCalvin started after HAPPE rescued a senior dog, Calvin. Within a few months, his foster family found out that Calvin had terminal cancer and only had a few months to live. Calvin’s foster family already had a strong bond with Calvin and wanted to ensure that Calvin’s final days were memorable and happy for everyone. They created a bucket list for Calvin and posted his adventures on Facebook with the #livelikeCalvin to raise awareness about adopting and fostering senior pets– because all pets deserve to #livelikeCalvin no matter how old or sick they may be.
Read the full story of Calvin
by Jessye and Ken Michaels
My husband and I have always had a soft spot for senior dogs. We’ve rescued all of our pets as adults or seniors because we know they are the most at risk at shelters.
In December of 2016 we saw a Facebook post from HAPPE Dog Rescue and Adoption about an elderly dog who’s owner had passed away. No one in the family wanted him and he was living outside in the cold. The owners granddaughter was trying to help and would take the dog to her apartment at night, but her landlord didn’t allow pets. We immediately contacted HAPPE and offered to foster him.
His name was Calvin, a stocky 14 year old beagle mix with cataracts, dementia, hearing loss, a broken tail and weak hind legs. He never let any of those issues slow him down and they weren’t going to keep us from giving him a fantastic end of life. He was a stubborn old man with a funny and wonderful personality and we immediately loved him. Ken and I wanted to make sure Calvin had a happy and comfortable “retirement”. We got him nightlights, cognitive vitamins, canine specific classical music, and a Snuggle Buddy to ease his canine dementia, pulled him in the wagon so he could join our other dogs on walks and gave him a midnight snack when he requested it. But truly none of it was any trouble because like all dogs he deserved the best.
In the spring we discovered that he had prostate cancer. He wasn’t showing any signs of discomfort but we knew his health could decline without warning and we wanted him to enjoy whatever time he had left. We started to take him on little outings, Easter on Parade, a Mother’s Day picnic at Tuckahoe Plantation, wagon rides through the park, and trips to Dairy Queen.
Then in October the vet found a large oral mass in the back of his mouth. The mass hadn’t been there at his visit a few months prior so we knew it was growing quickly. That night we decided to make Calvin a bucket list and post the photos of his adventures on HAPPE’s Facebook page to inspire people to give senior dogs a chance.
- Eat a cheeseburger
- Have a slumber party
- Go on a stroll (or wagon roll) in the country
- Enjoy some french fries
- Have a beagle birthday party
- Wear a Halloween costume
- Have his photo on the family Christmas card
- Be adopted by a forever family (which, of course, was us❤️)
On one of the bucket list photos someone commented that everyone should “live like Calvin” and the hashtag was born.
3 weeks after discovering the oral tumor, and just a few hours after completing his bucket list, Calvin crossed the rainbow bridge. Our other dogs were heartbroken, you could tell they loved Calvin and enjoyed his ‘grandfatherly’ role in the crew.
We were so incredibly lucky to have had him in our family, he taught us a lot about patience and love. Ken and I decided to honor his memory by starting #livelikeCalvin, an initiative to promote adopting senior dogs and show how a little kindness and adventure can make a huge difference in their lives. We hope more people will give senior dogs a chance, even though it’s hard to say goodbye, you need to remember that their time with us is more important than our time with them.