We wrote about Chester last week — he was the little dog Nicole Elliott adopted after seeing a “hospice needed” post on Facebook. Chester had cancer, and he just needed a confortable home to die in. Elliot offered that and more — she made a bucket list for Chester, to “take the time he has left (which is undetermined, but not guessed to be very long) and make it as happy as I can,” she wrote on Facebook.
And now, Chester has died.
On Friday, Elliot posted this photo and message on Instagram:
I have written and erased this post several times, because I feel like once it’s up it makes it feel so final. I am so sad to tell everyone that my sweet baby Chester has left this world. I am heartbroken, but at the same time I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I held him until his last breath and then some. I told him it was ok to let go, and how loved he was. I know without a doubt Chester died knowing that he mattered. He knew love. Even though my heart hurts now, the pain is eased by the legacy this sweet boy is leaving behind. He has inspired, and brought together so many people. He showed people how amazing he was despite his age, or the horrible illness he had. He is now pain free and running around with all of your babies that have gone before him. Chester’s journey with us was too short lived, but his presence with us will never be forgotten. Thank you all for loving him. He will always hold a special place in my heart. ?
Her post has been filling up with comments — more than 1,000 on Instagram, and more than 8,000 on Facebook, according to CNN.
When she started her bucket list, she just wanted to give Chester some love for his remaining days. “I never compiled a list. I’ve just gotten some ideas of things I can take him to do,” Elliot told ABC News last week.
“We bought new toys, a bed, bandanas, and treats. I also want to take him on a boat ride, to the beach, and to have professional photographer take pictures of him. I want to have them [the photos] after he’s gone.”
But as her story swept across social media, she realzied she had a larger purpose as well.
“I was so nervous, but happy to help spread awareness about dogs like Chester,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I hope through all of this attention that it shines a positive light on shelter animals with terminal illnesses or [who are] up in age.”
Here’s another picture she posted after losing Chester:
This is the 1st old man that stole my heart. He was surrendered to the same high kill facility as Chester. His owners had him for 18 years, and then left him there. He was such a lover boy and gave me 2 more great years of love. Animals will always be a passion of mine, and thank you to everyone for being so sweet, kind, and supportive. Losing Chester hurts badly, but it makes me want to pour my love into another unfortunate animal even more. The pain will never stop me from doing what I feel I was born to do. Nothing makes my heart feel quite as whole. They say an animal will only break your heart once. I am a firm believer in that. That’s worth the love you can give and receive. I find comfort in knowing that Chester will be chasing TJ over that beautiful bridge. ☺️? A photo posted by Nicole Elliott (@chestersfinaljourney) on
Remember Chester with some classic photos from his final happy days:
Trip to Flatrock park! Triple selfie, with silly Paisley blowing giant kisses ?#awareness #shelteranimals #chestersfinaljourney #bucketlist #rescuepup #animallovers #finalride #cancersucks #love #olddogs #sickbaby #welovehim #hospicefoster #newfamily #adopt A photo posted by Nicole Elliott (@chestersfinaljourney) on
Nathan’s hot dog ?#checkoffofbucketlist #chestersfinaljourney #bucketlist #rescuepup #animallovers #finalride #cancersucks #love #olddogs #sickbaby #welovehim #hospicefoster #newfamily #adopt A photo posted by Nicole Elliott (@chestersfinaljourney) on
Chester’s shopping spree! #chestersfinaljourney A photo posted by Nicole Elliott (@chestersfinaljourney) on
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