When blind Cattle Dog puppy Leya was just 6 months old, she was diagnosed with juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy. That’s a fancy way of saying Leya’s heart will fail, and there is no treatment or cure. As her temporary adoptive parent Victoria Corbett explains it, she has been “delivered a death sentence in the form of a broken heart.”
Corbett is the founder of “Speak for the Unspoken,” a foster-based rescue that specializes in placing deaf and blind dogs, and she is no stranger to hardship. This was different, though. Following the vet visit that revealed Leya’s uncertain future, Corbett told The Columbus Dispatch:
“We gauge everything on quality of life: Is she going to be miserable or in pain or uncomfortable. But [the vet] said, ‘No, you’ll have a good four to six months. But you need to just know that’s all you’re going to get, so make it worthwhile.”
Between the option to put Leya to sleep to free her from any pain, or to truly embrace the idea of making her last months worthwhile, Corbett knew what she wanted to do.
With the help of people all across the country who have heard Leya’s story, Corbett and the rescue compiled a bucket list 50-items strong. Leya is getting a taste of the sweet life, and the two are already well underway.
#20. Try agility
Thanks to Sky Dogs Agility, Leya learned to master the teeter totter, climb obstacles, and weave through poles like a pro! She could have done it all without any help, but the constant treats were too good to pass up!
#8. Visit Santa
We don’t know if Leya was more excited to sit on the fat man’s lap, or if Santa was more thrilled to help her cross off another item! Special thanks to Plank’s Bier Garten for hosting such a fun, pup-filled event!
#25. Have a “happy vet visit”
#4. Enjoy some DQ vanilla soft serve
#12. Experience Tim Horton’s Timbits
Talk about a productive day! Healthy Pets of Bren-Lor treated Leya to a super fun vet visit (who knew there was such a thing!), where she got to enjoy some Dairy Queen ice cream, juicy steak pieces, and a generous helping of Timbits!
As her mama wrote in a Facebook post: “Who needs sight? Her tongue works just fine!”
Thanks to Healthy Pets, Leya had a "happy vet visit" including three exquisite culinary experiences! Items #4 (Dairy Queen vanilla soft serve), #22 (STEAK!) and #12 (Tim Hortons TimBits) have all been checked off the Bucket List! Who needs sight? Her tongue works just fine!
Posted by Live Like Leya on Monday, November 23, 2015
#3. Fall asleep by a cozy fire
When the generosity of humans appears to have no bounds, that’s when our hearts soar. A family invited Leya and her human into their home to share their fire—complete with belly rubs and a big fuzzy canine friend.
#28. Get professional pictures taken
What a looker! Leya may not be able to see how fantastic she looks, but she sure knows how to work it for the camera. If she could talk, she might say “rank roo!” (translation: thank you) to Lucky Lola Studios LLC!
#9. Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast
Thanksgiving is amazing and delicious even if it’s in December, wouldn’t you agree?
#37. Get a doggie massage
As one commenter so astutely put it: “Maybe this should be on the list more than one time!!!” Thank you to the Reiki Center for a deep tissue massage that literally put a smile on Leya’s face! We think everyone deserves this kind of royal treatment.
#38. Discover a favorite toy
Not nearly as easy as it sounds, apparently. Though Leya is working tirelessly and well into the night and early mornings to make a decision, her family has come to realize there may not be such a thing as a favorite toy. We think it’s pretty fair to have about a hundred favorites anyway.
We are working hard on #38 (Discover a Favorite Toy) … Stay tuned as we still haven't quite discovered it !!
Posted by Live Like Leya on Saturday, December 5, 2015
#23. Sleep in the bed
Leya’s got super special bed privileges every single night! I think we can all agree that snuggling in the blankets is the best part.
#16. Have a birthday pawty!
While everyone hopes Leya will make it to her first birthday on May 15th, this celebratory 1/2 birthday party is okay for now. The community came out to meet the sweet pup and give her hugs and presents, and Leya knows the
best right way to live is by eating dessert first!
Life is short… Eat dessert first!!! #livelikeleya
Posted by Live Like Leya on Saturday, December 12, 2015
#39. Be part of a family
Leya was officially adopted by her foster family!
#45. Get a custom collar and leash
Yay #smallbusinesses! Thanks to the Tailed Tailors for whipping up Leya’s beautiful collar and leash set—she’ll be struttin’ it in style from now on.
#44. Eat breakfast in bed
#10. Open Christmas presents
#1. Take a mini road trip
The holidays meant an awfully big bucket list day, but Leya is a professional roadtripper and is taking it all in stride. What with a gourmet meal in bed and a mountain of presents just for her, she just doesn’t know how to thank everybody!
Consider this just a taste of Leya’s extravagant bucket list adventures—there’s still plenty more to go, and more than one way you can help. According to Leya’s Facebook page, here’s what you can do:
One way you can help is by sharing her story directly to certain high profile individuals to help her accomplish #43 – ‘Meet Someone Famous’ and in turn allow her story to meet more people… And the second way you can help is by “sponsoring” one of her Bucket List items, and one in particular is her Shopping Spree (#21) which we will be doing at a Petsmart in the next couple weeks.
You can send gift cards directly to Leya at
PO Box 534
Grove City OH 43123
We appreciate all you have done for our Bucket List puppy and we wanted to throw out some ideas for those asking to directly help.
Thank you all and remember to #LiveLikeLeya!!!
Any cards or goodies can also be sent directly to PO Box 534, Grove City OH 43123.