15-year-old rescue Pit Bull Elsie has already lived an incredibly full and admirable life. Now that she has been given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, she plans to make her remaining time all the more special. With the help of her remarkable adoptive mom, Elsie has embarked on a journey to check off every box on her bucket list, and inspire thousands of dog lovers along the way!
Elsie began her life as a breeding dog. When her first owner no longer found her useful, she was abandoned. Eventually, she was taken in as a stray by Animal Care and Control of NYC. Due to the high volume of the shelter, Elsie soon found herself on the euthanasia list. Luckily, a volunteer stepped up to foster Elsie until she found her human soulmate, Tanya Turgeon, in 2006.
Although her days of being unloved and unwanted were over, Elsie still had many ordeals to face. She has had a total of 9 surgeries in her short life, including a toe amputation, tumor removal, cyst removal, double aural hematomas and two dental procedures! Oh, and she also battled mammary cancer – and kicked its butt!
Despite everything she has been through, Elsie has never let her troubles get her down. She used to make and sell paintings with the help of her mom, and a portion of the proceeds went to the Humane Society of New York. Every Monday, she and Tanya put on “Movie Mondays,” where the two of them reenact scenes from classic movies. She even enjoys her visits to the vet, despite her latest and most devastating diagnosis. On February 16, Tanya updated Elsie’s large group of social media followers that Elsie has a terminal form of cancer in one of her knees and her shoulder. Despite the tragic news, Tanya gathered her strength and embarked on a bucket list journey with her faithful companion.
Most of Elsie’s wishes are pretty humble and simple. She’s already experienced her first (and second, and third) hotdog and decided she prefers green beans. She visited the beach at Coney Island, but after finding it too chilly, had a grand time shredding a wee pad in the car instead. In fact, her Facebook page, Something Elsie, is chock-full of photos and short videos of her bucket list exploits. Our favorite is this one of her literally shredding cancer!
The one thing that would really be the cherry on top of Elsie’s sundae would be to meet her hero, Actress/Golden Girl/Animal Rights Activist Extraordinaire, Betty White. So if anyone out there has any connections, hook a pupper up! Betty, if you’re reading this, we know that you would love Elsie just as much as she adores you. Just check out these mad skills!
Tanya’s daily social media posts are full of love, laughter and joy despite the sadness of Elsie’s situation. Together their upbeat attitudes are inspiring thousands to not only support Elsie, but other dogs like her who have been abandoned, neglected or abused. Even though her loss will be a tragedy, Elsie’s legacy is one of hope for a brighter future for shelter dogs and cancer patients of all species.
Elsie has a GoFundMe page to support her extensive vet bills and allow her to continue with hydrotherapy and acupuncture treatments that help to manage her pain. Tanya pushes Elsie in her stroller to and from her sessions two miles each way, and carries her up and down 22 stairs four times a day so that her frail legs do not take on additional strain. Now that’s true ruv, and no disease can ever destroy that.