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Rodgers Forge Beagle Gains Fame for Bucket List

Little Joe the beagle has 15 ways to seize the day on his list.

(Credit: Screenshot from ABC 2 YouTube video)
(Credit: Screenshot from ABC 2 YouTube video)
Little Joe the beagle mix may be terminally ill, but his fan base has taken on a life of its own.

Since Little Joe, or "L.J.," was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in March, his owners—Kathryne and Essam Shomali of Rodgers Forge—made a bucket list for him, according to the Towson Timeswhich reported the community has been rallying around the beagle ever since.

The couple put on the list items "that L.J. would really enjoy doing, or things that were just nice for the community," Essam Shomali told ABC News. “The whole point of this was ... [to] have great memories with L.J. and just to celebrate L.J."

L.J.'s Bucket List
  1. Eat a Big Mac
  2. Ride in a fire truck (completed with Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company)
  3. Candlelight steak dinner in the park
  4. Eat an ice cream cone (done at Uncle Wiggily's)
  5. Donate to shelter at church (done at Christ Lutheran Church)
  6. Donate to animal shelter (completed at Maryland SPCA)
  7. Go on a blind date (fulfilled with dog Jilly)
  8. Get pampered at the doggie spa
  9. Ride in motorcycle sidecar
  10. Meet a famous dog or police dog (in the works)
  11. Have a birthday party (may happen this summer in Rodgers Forge)
  12. Be on the news (fulfilled via ABCTowson TimesDaily Mail and The Baltimore Sun)
  13. Donate to Beagle Freedom Project (completed and ongoing)
  14. Take a summer swim
  15. Meet baby Shomali
L.J.'s owners are hopeful he will make it to the last item on his bucket list, which is to meet the baby they are reportedly expecting in December.

“I don’t want to think about the day that I’m going to have to say goodbye to him," Kathryne Shomali told ABC 2 News. "We want to take it day by day and have an awesome time doing this bucket list with him."

The Shomalis aren't the first to come up with a bucket list for their pooch. Earlier this year, Romeo, a boxer diagnosed with cancer in British Columbia, was featured on the Today show after his owner created a bucket list for him similar to L.J.'s, with a steak dinner and fire truck ride, among other activities, on the list. Romeo's story may evolve into a movie, according to his Facebook page, which his owners created to support others making bucket lists for their pets.
Kim Cooke June 18, 2014 at 07:06 AM
Well done. Gotta love a beagle.
Lisa June 18, 2014 at 08:58 AM
I would like to meet LJ and buy him a Big Mac. Im local please contact.
Richard Rice June 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Hope this is not too painful for the guy. My thoughts go out to the family!!
lindsun June 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM
What a great idea! Our beagle mix was diagnosed with liver cancer last October but it was found by mistake - so far it has not altered his 'good life' yet...he is 12 y.o. and is just starting to feel a bit 'stiff' when he rises from his bed. We are praying he will live out his 'normal' dog years before the cancer affects him. God Bless L.J.!!!!
Casey Corcoran June 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM
This bucket-list thing has gone too far. When is the last time this kind of publicity was expended in the name of bettering the human condition in the Towson/Baltimore area (or even globally)? I love a dog and feel compassion for a dying one as much as the next person, and I feel for L.J., their owners and everyone who has become attached. There are many opportunities to help the homeless, starving children, or, if it needs to be a dog, a local animal shelter. And please, stop it with the news items about L.J.'s bucket list.

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