Saying goodbye to an animal companion is one of the saddest things you can experience. When New York City resident Lauren Fern Watt was told by vets that her beloved English Mastiff, Gizelle, was suffering from terminal bone cancer, she was understandably heartbroken at the thought of losing her best friend.
But rather than wallow in her sadness, she decided to take Gizelle on one last amazing adventure. Lauren created a bucket list of fun-filled activities for the two to enjoy together.
Starting in Central Park, the besties enjoyed a calm canoe ride, paying homage to one of their favorite movies to watch together, The Little Mermaid. Naturally, it took some convincing to get the easily spooked pup into the wobbly boat.
A spider sighting almost caused them to capsize, but they eventually found serene stillness by floating out away from the noisy city.
New Yorkers typically avoid the bustling crowds of Times Square, but Lauren knew it was an important landmark. So she and Gizelle took an early morning trip and stood at the Crossroads of the World.
“It was magical.”
They then left the busy city for the simple pleasure of indulging in ice cream on a dock, watching lazily as the boats went by.
Up next was a trip to Maine in search of the perfect lobster dinner. After purchasing the two biggest clawed crustaceans she could find, Lauren let them loose on the floor with Gizelle, who “sniffed at them like they were her dog pals.”
The brief friendship didn”t stop the pup from enjoying them boiled and buttered up.
Gizelle loved traveling in cars, so they embarked on a girls-only, four-day road trip with Lauren”s friend along the New England coastline – no set destination in the books.
The only thing they thought about was whether Gizelle preferred jamming to Taylor Swift or the Beach Boys.
Like a lot of big dogs, Gizelle wasn”t always aware of her 160-pound build. Lauren was always happy to spend hours cuddling with her pup curled up on her lap – shedding and slobber included.
“She helped teach me that love is the most wonderful gift I can receive, and it is the best thing I have to give.”
They spent an entire day people watching in downtown NYC”s Washington Square Park, interacting with the city”s notoriously quirky residents: listening to a man singing with an out-of-tune guitar, chatting with a fish-face-tattooed man, and assisting a red-kimono-wearing woman with feeding the pigeons.
“Gizelle always introduced me to more people than my sometimes reserved personality allowed me on my own.”
Gizelle usually acted as Lauren”s wing woman while out on the town, so Lauren returned the favor by taking her to a puppy party with several single boy dogs.
Here, she”s sweetly holding paws with a cutie named Auggie.
When Gizelle”s appetite decreased (and Lauren”s as well), they took a trip to the coast of Maine to visit Congdon”s Doughnuts for something too good for their tastebuds to deny.
They polished off a full dozen together.
Knowing this would be Gizelle”s last Christmas, Lauren was delighted to stumble upon these sweet Santa”s helpers and pass along Gizelle”s wish list.
The good girl requested rib eyes, hot dogs, and vanilla ice cream.
They were told Gizelle would be gone before Christmas, but when January arrived, the two ventured back to Maine to sit on the beach as it snowed.
Gizelle passed away the next day.
Their last day together on the abandoned beach gave Lauren the solace she needed to accept losing her best friend. “Just like I had faith that the trees would sprout lime green leaves again and kids with yellow buckets would splash in the water once more, I had faith I”d carry Gizelle with me.”
The adventure may be over, but Lauren will continue to hold Gizelle”s memory with her the rest of her life.