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Buddy, the improbable Labrador retriever who gained international attention for living out his final days to the fullest, has died.

The 14-year-old dog’s death Monday was announced on a Facebook page dedicated to his escapades and titled, “Buddy’s Bucket List.” Loren Cazan, Buddy’s owner and caretaker, thanked him for “rescuing me.”

“It is with a very heavy heart that I let everyone know that Buddy crossed the Rainbow Bridge today surrounded with love and hugs,” said Cazan, who took ownership over Buddy when his prior owner passed away. “Over the last several days Buddy’s health has taken a decline and today it got really bad and he looked at me and his eyes told me it was time. I knew it was inevitable but it doesn’t make it any easier.

“I’m so very glad I was home today from work for my birthday because that meant I got to be with him all day. He went very peacefully with hugs and ... pets and being told how loved he was.”

Not long after his owner died, Buddy was diagnosed with a mast cell cancer and given his age, a veterinarian concluded he couldn’t survive the surgery. It was then that Cazan, a firefighter from Groveland Township and animal rescue volunteer, and other supporters began to create and chronicle a bucket list for Buddy.

Pictures and videos of Buddy began to emerge of him licking an ice cream cone at the beach, eating fast food and donning a Superman dog shirt to become a superhero for a day. Supporters of Buddy even had a T-shirt sale seeking help for his care and other rescues with proceeds going to A Rejoyceful Animal Rescue in Mount Clemens.

“Buddy, I will miss you. I will miss the way your lips curled up when I talked to you as you intently listened ... I will miss the way you threw your head against me when you wanted to snuggle..,” Cazan wrote on the Facebook page. “I will miss the way you got so excited for treats that every trick I asked you to do became ‘speak’... I will miss the way you snuggled. ... I will miss the way you smiled with joy when the neighbor’s kids came to see you. ... Thank you for showing me that the important things in life are the little things. ... Thank you for being the voice of seniors and rescue. ... Thank you for always making me laugh and for loving me. Thank you, Buddy ... for rescuing me.”

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter:@leonardnfleming

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