By Tony Atkins
ERIE, Pa. — When Todd Burchanowski found out that his 7-year-old dog, Reyes, had terminal cancer, he decided to make his final moments with her the best moments of all.
“We went in for a routine checkup the day after Thanksgiving, (and) we learned that all of her lymph nodes were swollen,” Burchanowski said.
A few days later, pathology results came back, and that’s when Burchanowski learned Reyes, his best friend, didn’t have much time left.
“It’s been a struggle,” Burchanowski said. “To know you have limited time to spend with your best friend is tough.”
The thought of losing Reyes has not only been tough for Burchanowski, a fourth-grade math teacher at Fort LeBoeuf High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, it has also been tough for his family, colleagues and students.
One of Burchanowski’s colleagues reached out to him, suggesting that he could make the most of his remaining time with Reyes by creating a bucket list to complete with the rest of their time together.
“I thought, ‘Why not have the people in her life pick the items for the bucket list?’” Burchanowski said.
Reyes’ loved ones composed the 86-item bucket list, and the pair went to work completing it.
“I want everybody to see how happy she has made me,” Burchanowski said.
After nearly eight years of blissful life with each other, Burchanowski said the past four weeks have been the most special.
“It has been the best month of my life with her,” Burchanowski said.
So far, Reyes has walked the wedding aisle, done a photo shoot, left the country, visited Niagara Falls and even gone on a shopping spree at Pet Smart.
Even though the pair has completed much of their list, there is still work to be done.
“We want to get down to Heinz Field,” Burchanowski said. “I’ve never been there, but every time I’ll watch a Steelers game, I would never forget the time Reyes and I went.”
In Pittsburgh, Burchanowski has taken Reyes to visit the Roberto Clemente statue at PNC Park and to ride the Duquesne Incline.
“I love my dog, and I want everybody to know how amazing she is,” Burchanowski said.
If they didn’t know before, they know now. Thousands have been showing support for Reyes, encouraging the two to carry on in their adventures.
“I am thankful of all of the support that people have given to me,” Burchanowski said. “For people to contact me to pass along support to my dog is just amazing.”
As they head toward the end of life together, Burchanowski said it’s only right to send his best friend off in style.
republished from; wpxi.com