Bucket List For Boxer Dog With Cancer Ends With His Passing

Romeo, the 9-year-old boxer who became national and international headlines after his owners posted his special story of fighting cancer online, has passed. He made it until Sunday, March 16 when the tumour inside the bone of his leg burst, leaving no other option but for Riina and Jon Cooke to put him down.

“This weekend we took him to another country, because he had never been outside of Canada,” Riina said. “We went to Birch Bay because my husband’s family has a cabin there. It was our last wish on the bucket list to get Romeo to another country, and we did it. But overnight, at 4 a.m., the tumour exploded.”

Last December Romeo was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer that forms inside the bones and grows from the inside-out.

However rather than letting it keep her down, Riina and Jon made a bucket list for Romeo. One of the first things in the list was letting Romeo eat a McDonald’s cheeseburger. After that, Romeo had a ride inside of a fire truck, then a steak dinner gifted by The Keg and served at Lafarge Lake, up to meeting musician Bif Naked.

After announcing Romeo’s passing, Cooke has seen an outcry of support from people throughout the world.

“I have thousands of messages from people saying he’s helped them with their grieving process and that they’ve now given their dogs’ bucket lists,” she said. “I’ve had people tell me it’s changed their perspective on their dying animals or even family members, and how they want to stop hurting and instead enjoy every last moment.”


  1. Melinda hamilton says

    Omg my heart goes out to both of you I lost my Sam to cancer almost 5years ago then 3 months later we lost my baby girl gabby rose they were soul mates and I still miss them both so very much like I said it’s been almost 5 years I know it will be hard to do but get another boxer that’s what I did his name is Paxton mcdreamy and he’s so very special he will never replace Sammy and gabby but he’s has helped so much they do leave paw prints on our hearts forever god bless you both your in my prayers and rest in peace Romeo if you meet Sammy and gabby and iam sure you will your probably all playing together at the rainbow bridge tell them mommy and daddy miss and love them so very much god bless

  2. Tammy Bailey says

    I’m so sorry for your families loss of Romeo , I feel your families terrible loss of your beloved Boxer. We lost our Boxer Duke 3/7/14 from cancer , he was our beloved companion for 7 yrs . RIP Romeo !!!! ♡ ♡ ♡

  3. Pat Fuller says

    I watched your heartfelt video and cried my eyes out..such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful baby! Im so sorry for your loss and know your hearts are heavy..may God heal your hearts and may u find comfort in knowing you will see him again someday!

  4. chris lewis says

    my heart aches for you, my Rocco actually beat cancer twice, but then had congestive heart failure. Luckily his cardiologist was able to get him drugs from Canada that we couldn’t get in the states. They gave me another 7 months to spoil & love him. I made a picture album of him. I have a female Sadie now. My your memories carry you thru this difficult time. Hugs from Tampa, Fl.

  5. Marion Fay says

    Wow, having my boxer girl here to be 12 on April 5th, this has me in tears as she was diagnosed with Lymphoma a different type of cancer. I too have made sure that every possible moment is spent giving back love as she has always done for us. It is so heart breaking for sure but knowing each moment is special we have to be at each others side. Thanks for the tears and the video only makes me remember all the good memories with my girl. This the Rainbow Bridge and always I will love my Ms. Bubbles, aka Ch. Pro’s Etched upon my heart.

  6. Terry Richardson says

    I am going through what these people have been through , i was told several months ago that my 12 year old boxer Max has cancer . He is my best friend . I am hurting so much it is so hard to watch the only thing you have in the world die and knowing there is nothing you can do about it . Its harder on me i am 63 yrs old and live alone .

  7. Dawn says

    What a beautiful tribute to your baby boy. Bittersweet tears run down my face.
    I lost my 10 year old Boxer to cancer 3 years ago and it was the greatest loss of my life. I didn’t have much warning. He wasn’t diagnosed until the very late stages. By then he was too weak for any bucket list adventures. He’d had a physical exam 3 months prior and I had been so relieved they found him healthy. I was so shocked 3 months later when he stopped eating, that he had late stage cancer. I had no time to emotionally come to to terms with his diagnosis. All I could do was spoil him and love him and give him yummy stuff like beef stew and ice cream. I let him go only 48 hours later, when he became too uncomfortable to sleep. It was devastating for me. He looked so much like your boy. I still have a great ache and emptiness in my heart 3 years later. Boxers are just pure LOVE.

  8. debra Rodriguez says

    Omg my heart goes out to you both .my boxer is battling sarcoma cancer she’s terminal rip romeo run free handsome

  9. Colleen says

    We have lost 3 to cancer. Diamond in Oct 2003, Faith (our rescue baby) Nov 2010, & Winston in Feb. 2013. believe me it doesn’t get any easier. Can never replace one with another, but once you’ve had a boxer it’s hard to go very long without one. NEW baby is 1 1/2 yr old Gracie and I prayer she never knows the pain of cancer.
    RIP Romeo.

  10. Woody says

    Outstanding tribute, I lost my best friend Smitty to cancer July 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM. He was 7 years old. He went to the bridge while I was holding him. I now have 2 Boxers and they cannot take the place of Smitty but Woody and Max make it a lot easier. Boxers are so full of energy and personality.

  11. Betty says

    So sorry, I totally know what your going thru, We just put our beloved Sandy down due to cancer in January 2015. She was 12! We too gave Sandy dinners normally she woulnd get, she had steak,potatoe, and ice cream right before she went to Rainbow Bridge. She was our 3rd boxer and we miss her so much

  12. Luann lutz says

    So sorry for you loss.. We have lost two boxers to cancer and two others and it is never easy. We currently have 3 boxers who are part of our family. I can tell by your tribute that Romeo was very much loved and taken care of. I cried through the whole tribute. Thanks for sharing Romeo will be running with our Heidi,Max,Greta and Macho in heaven.

  13. Kathy says

    Im so sorry for your great loss,,,I recently found out our 10 1/2 year old boxer (Bosley) has sarcoma cancer,,,I cry almost daily thinking of his passing…He is so much a part of our lives..Thank you for your wonderful love for Romeo…

  14. Sarah Flowers says

    First let me say how very sorry I am for your loss, We lost our precious Cruiser in Jan, he was almost 14 yr. The vet thought it was his age, plus there was possibility of cancer tumors inside,but he was to old to have anything done,he had no pain, for that I am eternal grateful to God. We were with him in our bedroom where he always slept, holding, talking & loving him until his last heart beat. Its been awful & as I watched ur video the tear were flowing, my heart goes out to you guys! Your tribute to Romeo is beautiful… you can see the love in all your eyes in the video, Romeo was loved beyond words,just like our Cruiser, like a saying goes…If LOVE could of saved you, you would lived FOREVER <3 Heaven has gained so many precious fur angels, well see them again one day! Prayers from KY from a boxer mom & dad to another boxer mom & dad God Bless <3

  15. Joanna says

    My heart goes out to you guys i know how it feels to lose a family member and that is what are pets are. I lost my best friend 2 yrs ago and i still miss him today but i know he in a better place and in no more pain.

  16. fairfield says

    We rescued our Boxer girl 2 years ago and have taken care of her each and every day….she recently came down with a bone tumor….NEVER will have another dog….she can never be replaced….we are making her as comfortable as possible…ice cream is nothing new…she LOVES it!! …we have given her steak on her birthday and on many other days…glad we did many things and not waited for a bucket list. We’ve always fed her healthy food veggies and fruit, etc…always concerned for her heart…now this! ugh

  17. Shelly says

    I just lost my boxer (Duke) of 16 years yes that’s rare for A boxer. He was my life he gave me so much. Boxers are the best dogs. He will be missed dearly. Love you my big boy.

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