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Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog

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The playful, epic adventure of a 160-pound English Mastiff and the twentysomething girl who grew up alongside her— Marley & Me for a whole new generation.

Lauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college—so of course after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first, tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion, and everything in between.

Together, Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. Gizelle’s Bucket List is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2017

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Lauren Fern Watt

3 books31 followers

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5 stars
492 (38%)
4 stars
449 (34%)
3 stars
273 (21%)
2 stars
62 (4%)
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12 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 280 reviews
Profile Image for Dash fan .
1,467 reviews717 followers
February 16, 2017
This is a beautiful heart-felt book about a story of love and friendship between a girl and her dog and their adventures on their bucket list.

I can truly say this book has taken me on a journey of emotions, I have shed a few tears, laughed alot, but most of all been on a huge journey with Lauren and Gizelle of discovery, love, friendship and adventure.

This book is very close to my heart as I have had 3 dogs since I was a baby and my current cockerpoo is now 6years old and he is my baby boy I love him unconditionally.

Nothing ever prepares you for the loss of a furr baby so the bucket list is a great idea.
Although it is a heart breaker to read so be warned!

Lauren gets Gizelle her Mastiff when she was 19.
Gizelle plays a massive part in Lauren's life and helps support her through good and bad times.
Dogs truly do give unconditional love and support. They are always there no matter what.

Lauren creates a bucket list for Gizelle and is determined to go through each one making every day as special as can be before its too late and she loses Gizelle.
She creates as many happy and loving memories as possible.

This book is a tear jerker, but it has some beautiful and funny moments.
I highly recommend reading especially if your an animal lover.

I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Karen R.
847 reviews498 followers
March 15, 2017
As a dog lover, I could not resist reading this book. So glad I did. It is a touching and delightful tale. Author Lauren Fern Wright shares her journey through life’s joys and challenges accompanied by her loveable and loyal 160 lb. dog Gizelle. At times laugh out loud funny and other times sad, Lauren writes from the heart and pens a wonderful tribute to her best friend and confidente. Well-done.
Profile Image for Jessica White.
475 reviews36 followers
February 11, 2017
I write this with tears all over my keyboard and my precious pup tucked under my arm.
This makes me want to love on my dog a little more than usual tonight.
You never know when something bad could happen and after reading this I'm hoping it never does.
When Lauren was 19 years old, she picked up her best friend Gizelle. She knew her puppy was going to be big, but she didn't realize she would be a 160 pound big puppy.
Their story starts here and grows.
From Nashville, to New York City, to Maine.
Lauren and Gizelle grow together.
The unconditional love they have for each other is so strong throughout the whole book.
But one phone call is all it takes to throw your world upside down.
When Lauren got that call, she vowed to spend every last minute of Gizelle's life marking off items on her very own bucket list.
Gizelle taught Lauren how to grow, laugh, love, and forgive.
I mean it when I say I'm giving extra cuddles and loads of love to my pup today and every day.

If you love dogs the way dogs love you, pick up this book.

I snagged an advanced copy of Gizelle's Bucket List,
but you can grab a copy on March 7th!
Profile Image for Anna.
456 reviews6 followers
September 22, 2018
Absolutely beautiful. When I borrowed this book I was not really sure what a 'bucket list' was. Now I know and of course there is always an underlying sadness and poignancy throughout the book. A lot of life is like that though isn't it and without a doubt the best parts too. Well done author and Gizelle just beautiful.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,803 reviews297 followers
April 18, 2018
easy going read about the author and her dog gizelle and their life together and the final times together
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,680 reviews2,668 followers
May 16, 2017
This is the new Marley and Me for sure; there’s even a movie version in the works already. Watt and her mother adopted Gizelle, an English mastiff puppy, on a whim one day while Watt was a nineteen-year-old Tennessee college student. After graduation she and Gizelle moved to New York City, miraculously finding a Times Square apartment that would fit two humans plus one enormous dog. It’s easy to sympathize with the author’s feeling of being out of her depth, even after she landed a boyfriend and a PR assistant job with Gap: “I was twenty-three and had no idea what I was doing with my life”; “I wondered what Gizelle and I were doing in this city. It was clear: Gizelle was too big. I was too small.” Meanwhile, her mother’s alcoholism was always in the back of her mind.

The first two-thirds of this memoir are well crafted; it’s with the last third – the bucket list itself – that the basis for the book starts to feel a little thin. Gizelle was only six when she started limping on her back leg; rather than a torn ligament, as Watt hoped, it was an aggressive osteosarcoma. During Gizelle’s final months, when she stayed with kind friends, Watt would travel up to Maine on weekends and spoil her rotten in every way she could think of: cook her a steak, give her a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla to consume on a dock, go on mini road trips, take her for a canoe ride, visit a pumpkin patch, and see snow fall on a beach.

It wasn’t really a bucket list because Watt generally did these spontaneous dog-friendly activities first, then wrote them down. But that’s a minor quibble compared with the writing, which is…well…just about passable. Reading passages like these, I did wonder if Watt should have waited until she was older than 25 to write this, or found a co-author:
“Maybe it was time to put aside the addiction concerns I had with my mother. I was in New York City! I had my best friend with me now. It was November. Time to explore.” [she mentions in the acknowledgments that her editor helped her cut down on exclamation points!]

“I guess when you bring a dog into your life, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak, aren’t you? Sure, you will most likely have to say good-bye and it will be the saddest day ever, but it’s so worth it, isn’t it? To have a dog. To learn from their unconditional love.”

“My bottom lip quivered. As … we headed toward the vet’s office [to put Gizelle to sleep], I understood the meaning of the expression ‘a broken heart.’ My heart hurt miserably; it felt as though someone had tied a belt around it and was pulling tightly. It was the worst feeling I’d ever felt.”

The inclusion of her spoken words to Gizelle made me cringe a bit, too; copy down anyone’s baby talk to their pets or progeny and it’s going to sound pretty inane.

But I’m going to stop being an old curmudgeon and tell you that if you liked Marley and Me you may as well read this sweet story too. Read it for Gizelle, and for the cute pictures at the start of chapters. And oh yes, you will cry buckets. (If you’re after a superior pet memoir, though, plump for Dog Years by Mark Doty or Ordinary Dogs by Eileen Battersby.)
Profile Image for Karen.
593 reviews14 followers
April 25, 2017
Generally speaking, I hate to disparage any book about a dog. I love dogs and have lost dogs, so I picked this up on a whim after seeing at the library. Don't get me wrong - I loved Gizelle! I just didn't love her person. And I don't think her person is a very good writer. I will admit I don't know anything about English Mastiffs, but having one in a NYC apartment seems unbelievable to me - didn't Gizelle deserve more space? Also, when she began failing, Lauren kept her alive too long, completing a "bucket list" that was really only important to Lauren.
Profile Image for Stephen Wallace.
612 reviews73 followers
November 11, 2022
I am going to rate this book a 5 for what it is, but I also wanted to rate it a 4 as a way of saying it doesn’t have anything big and exciting to recommend this book over other dog books for those who are looking for something different than a drama. This book is the story of a girl going into adulthood and away from her alcoholic mother to move to New York City. Before that point, her mother had impulsively bought her a dog.

“Know what I wanna do today?” She leaned in and smiled. “We need to get another puppy.”
She took a sip of her Grande coffee. “I really want to get you a big dog. We’re big dog girls. You’re such a big-do girl, sweetie.” I didn’t even know what it meant to be a big-dog girl, and I didn’t care.

I know us responsible dog owners are screaming, how sh*t! You don’t buy a dog on a whim, especially a big dog!

A large part of the book is talking about what it is like to live with a big dog. I have had a couple of Newfoundland dogs, so I can relate. The looks and comments you get from other people when you walk by. Like all of us, we come to live with it because while all dogs can have so much heart, big dogs seem to appear to have even heart. The consequences of having a big dog certainly are a good test to see how much of a dog fan a person is. Here is a few things mentioned in the book:

It didn’t matter that I swept up clouds of brindle fur in my apartment and scraped dried dog drool off my walls every night, or once went to work with slobber in my hair. It didn’t matter that her number twos were so large someone once told me they needed their own zip code, that my apartment turned into a Slip’n Slide every time she drank water, or that she wasn’t the neatest eater, so sometimes I’d step on half-chewed food and it felt like mashed potatoes in between my toes.

The book is primarily about the growth of the author through her early twenties. We all go through it. My two boys are grown enough for me to have seen them go through that period. In many ways Laruen is clueless but actually is better than that as she has a clue that she is clueless. What makes the book good is that she is open and honest about that. It is the shared experience that we have had in those years, and what we had seen in others, that helps us bond and enjoy the book. The ‘slice of life’ story works because it is a story we all share.

Here is a good example of her having or getting a clue:

Perhaps I could even make myself a human resume. Maybe I wouldn’t even need to lie: Lauren Fern Watt: Totally disorganized. Doesn’t know what she is doing but trying to remain positive. Excellent Live, Laugh, Lover.

Of course, the other big theme in the book is her dog Gizelle getting cancer and a ‘bucket’ list. I know there is a lot of people who don’t like to read a dog book when the dog dies in the end. I think reading of dogs that eventually die is helpful. We always have to learn afresh, and it always hurts when they go, but reading about a dog getting sick and dying helps see that the story is just a chapter that we can make it through and more appreciate the time we have with them.

Gizelle had kept me in this cold long enough to witness the snow, and I almost felt as though she was telling me something. See, Lauren, I brought you down here to get you out of that room and feel what real loneliness is on this big empty beach. I’m going to sit in your lap right now and be here for you, but soon you will see that you can handle this. Soon I won’t be around, but you’re going to be fine by yourself. You’ll be okay. The pain won’t last forever. Nothing lasts for very long.

The concept of the list is a good thread. Reminds me how in a movie, the parts of life can go by pretty quick. Breaking life down into simple elements makes it easier as she says in this bit:

I carried the list in my head, happy that I had everything written down and could try to think about life in such a simplified way. Maybe life didn’t have to be so complicated after all.

The list she had for the dog is mentioned and referenced in different places, but mostly it is about just to live and enjoy life which would be all I think a dog would have on a list.

I enjoyed the book and if you are into a good drama of following a young woman in her life, I think you would enjoy the book to.
Profile Image for Kasia (kasikowykurz).
1,539 reviews44 followers
October 20, 2021
3.5 ⭐️

Gizelle to ważąca ponad 70 kg suka mastifa angielskiego, nazwana na cześć roztrzepanej księżniczki Disneya. Jest też niezwykle lojalna, strachliwa i cierpliwa. A przede wszystkim ponad wszytko kocha swoją panią Lauren. Losy tych dwóch splotły się, kiedy w jej dziewiętnaste urodziny matka zobaczyła ogłoszenie w gazecie i pojechały zobaczyć szczeniaki.

Jestem psiarą od zawsze, ale nigdy nie miałam obsesji na punkcie psich historii. Jakby się nad tym zastanowić, to chyba dopiero moja druga taka książka. Pierwszą był niezastąpiony szatański Marley i Ja i te dwie książki nie mogłyby się bardziej różnic. Nie wciągnęła mnie nie wiadomo jak, ale też wiedziałam, czego się spodziewać. Mimo to na ostatnich stronach walczyłam ze łzami, mimo, że doskonale zdawałam sobie sprawę, jakie będzie zakończenie tej historii.

To nie tylko historia o przyjaźni wchodzącej w dorosłość młodej kobiety z ogromnym psem. Razem z Lauren przeżywamy pierwsza wyprowadzkę, pierwsze miłości, pierwszą poważną pracę i wszystkie te rozterki, z którymi zmaga się wchodzący w dorosłość młody człowiek. Tyle ze jej w tej drodze towarzyszy ogromny masftiff, który niejednokrotnie trochę komplikuje sprawy. Ale to też historia o zmaganiu się z uzależnieniem w rodzinie i pogodzeniem się z tym, że nie zawsze musi być idealnie.

Ale przede wszystkim jest to historia i pogodzeniu się ze stratą. Każdy właściciel psa jest świadom, że pewnego dnia przyjaciela zabraknie i stanie się to prędzej niż później. Lista Życzeń Giselle to nie do końca lista życzeń wielkiego szczeniaka, to sposób Lauren na pogodzenie się z sytuacją, desperacka próba zaakceptowania sytuacji i uspokojenia swojego sumienia. Przekonanie siebie, że zrobiła wszytko, co tylko mogła, by zapewnić swojemu psa najlepszy żywot. Że obie dokonały wszystkiego.
Profile Image for Valerie.
902 reviews5 followers
February 5, 2017
This book is every animal lovers heart in a written format. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and most of all it made me so grateful for my 'fur children.' I am very much of the mindset that animals are part of our lives for reasons and this book reconfirmed that for me.

In this book we get to join Lauren and Gizelle (her Mastiff) recount Gizelle's life and a bucket list adventure. The book is a beautiful tribute to her dear friend and it made me cry. I love that connection they shared and the lessons she learned from Gizelle. What a story.

As mentioned by the summary, this has a very Marley and Me feel to it. I enjoyed the story very much and I am very grateful for the opportunity to read this book.

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book from the publisher. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.
October 9, 2022
Παγκόσμια ημέρα των σκύλων σήμερα και αυτό το βιβλίο είναι μια εκδήλωση αγάπης προς έναν τετράποδο φίλο και δάσκαλο.

Η Λόρεν και η Ζιζέλ, δύο αχώριστες φίλες, θα γνωριστούν, θ' αγαπηθούν και εξερευνήσουν τον κόσμο παρέα.

Σα βιβλίο είχε ένα δυνατό ξεκίνημα, όμως αρκετά νωρίς και μέχρι τη σελίδα 140 υπήρξε αρκετά χλιαρό και αδιάφορο. Ωστόσο, ο ψυχαναγκασμός μου να μην αφήνω βιβλία στη μέση, κάπως με δικαίωσε.

Σε όλο το βιβλίο περιγράφεται η ζωή μιας νεαρής κοπέλας με το 70κιλο Μαστίφ της. Επίσης, παρουσιάζονται επιφανειακά και κάποια άλλα ζητήματα, όπως τα εργασιακά, οι συνθήκες διαβίωσης στην Αμερική, οι ανθρώπινες σχέσεις, και οι εξαρτήσεις. Από τη μέση και μετά το βιβλίο είχε όμορφες εικόνες και έντονα συναισθήματα, περιείχε ωραία μηνύματα στο σύνολό του αλλά δεν κατάφερε να με κερδίσει, ίσως επειδή δεν ήταν τρομερά καλογραμμένο(;), αλλά με συγκίνησε σίγουρα. Μάλλον με κέρδισε η αγάπη της Λόρεν για τη Ζιζέλ και της Ζιζέλ για τη Λόρεν. Ίσως επίσης με κέρδισε η περηφάνια και το επίπεδο που φανέρωνε το τετράποδο πλασματάκι.

Όμως το σημαντικότερο μήνυμα αυτού του βιβλίου είναι πως ο σκύλος είναι πραγματικά ο καλύτερος φίλος του ανθρώπου, τα ζώα άλλωστε είναι τα σοφότερα πλάσματα στον πλανήτη και μας διδάσκουν καθημερινά την αξία της ζωής.

Μακάρι οι άνθρωποι να καταφέρναμε να ζήσουμε με την απόλυτη αγάπη και το ελεύθερο πνεύμα ενός σκύλου!

Χρόνια σας πολλά όμορφες ψυχούλες, ακόμα κι όταν ταξιδεύετε μακριά μας, ζείτε για πάντα μέσα στις καρδιές μας❤
Profile Image for Letty.
627 reviews
March 8, 2017
I am a big crying mess as I write this review. This is a sweet, very heart-wrenching story about a girl, Lauren, and her very big dog, Gizelle, that is her dearest companion and friend, and making the best of that big, beautiful dog's last days. The book was well written and really kept me captivated from the time Lauren first brings Gizelle home, their time in college together, their move to New York City and trying to find an apartment large enough to fit an English Mastiff, to their last days together. I managed to read this in one and a half days, reading late into the night. I didn't know if I would actually be able to read to the very end as I knew what was going to happen, having recently lost my own precious fur baby, but I did read to the end and it did bring on the tears. Gizelle seemed like such a wonderful dog. With all the love from Lauren, her family and close friends, I feel Gizelle lived a beautiful and happy life.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Jan.
606 reviews27 followers
March 5, 2017
This was a sweet story! Leaving home, finding your first apartment and job is a big task for a young woman. Throw in a 160 pound dog and you know there are going to be some interesting adventures. With the help of her huge mastiff - Gizelle, Lauren grows up and learns some important life lessons - what love is and what it is not. And she learns the hardest lesson of all - how to say goodbye. 3.5 stars.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy and the opportunity to review this book.
Profile Image for The Blonde Bookworm.
298 reviews39 followers
March 15, 2017
As a dog lover, I knew I was going to love this book. I have grown up with at least two dogs in my house at all times, and we always treated our dogs as people instead of animals. They ate leftovers from our dinner, they slept in our beds, and they rode next to us in the car to school everyday. They were always much more than just a pet, they were family to us. When you become attached to a dog, there is a small part of you that knows you'll have to say goodbye to them one day, but you always try to push that little voice in the back of your mind.

Going into Gizelle's Bucket List, I knew I was going to need a box of tissues. Its no spoiler to say we know the story is about the end of a sweet puppy's life, but what I didn't expect was to become so attached to Gizelle and Lauren's story. Actually that's a lie -- give me a book about a sweet dog and companion and I'll become attached all day long. I guess I was just surprised at how much a really felt like I could relate to the story. At the end of the book, I just wanted to give Lauren a hug and hear about how she's doing now. I felt connected to her in some way and I realized how easily pets can do just that, they connect people. This fact was seen over and over throughout the book and in Lauren's life.

Giselle's Bucket List is not just a charming story about a friendship between a dog and a girl, but it is a lesson on what it means to love unconditionally and always be searching for the next great adventure. I wholeheartedly recommend this to readers of all genres. It will tug at your heartstrings and make you want to go hug your furry friend extra close. Head out to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy today!
Profile Image for Dedra ~ A Book Wanderer.
1,027 reviews71 followers
January 26, 2018
I was provided an advance copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley.

Anyone who knows me well knows I don't like dogs. Dogs and I have a troubled past. I was chased by them as a child, bitten recently when out for a bike ride, and just generally fearful of them. So no one was more surprised than me when I requested to read this touching memoir about one of the largest breeds of dogs. AND when I kept postponing this read--finally purging many of my Netgalley arcs when I had been too eager and requested more than I could possibly read--but this one survived. The reviews were so glowing--and I DO love a good road trip story! I finally picked this one up, and I read it in one day. Lauren's honest storytelling and complete devotion to Gizelle was compelling and so very readable. And I could not believe when I found myself crying over a dog along with her. I'm so glad Lauren decided to share her and Gizelle's story. It's a great reminder to enjoy life, and never stop having adventures!

#popsugarreadingchallenge (prompt #37)
Profile Image for Nadja.
141 reviews20 followers
March 19, 2017
A couple of months ago Simon and Schuster offered me a free copy of Gizelle's Bucket List - My life with a very large dog by Lauren Fern Watt in exchange for an honest review. As a dog owner I had to read this. It sounded so intriguing and although it had been on my TBR for a while before I managed to pick it up it was so worth it.

This book should actually come with at least two other recommendations.

1. Grab some tissues.
2. Snuggle up with your puppy.

Lauren picks up this big English Mastiff puppy who she instantly names Gizelle, they grow together, grow this beautiful relationship between a dog and the dogs person (in this case Lauren) and soon Lauren finds herself on an incredible journey also called life with her trusty friend Gizelle.
Now as we all know dogs rarely live longer than we do and when Gizelles time is come Lauren makes her a bucket list, which a big part of this book is about.

This book is full of beautiful moments, it is honest, funny as well as sad. It is life and I just felt it was such a great read that I actually run around recommending it to everyone I know. In addition to that it reads so fluently and easily that I could have read it in one sitting.
So no wonder that this got 5 out of 5 stars.
(For a more in depth review and greetings from me and my dog check out my blog).
Profile Image for La La.
1,014 reviews126 followers
March 1, 2017
This book was about so much more than a girl and her dog. It was about family, addiction, friendship, change, relationships, growing up, letting go, and living life. The ending of the story destroyed me, so this is about all you are going to get from me as to a review right now.

I have not read a dog book in ages, especially a true story narrative, and I enjoyed it exceedingly more than I presumed I would. In the beginning I thought it was going to be a nice quick little read about the misadventures of a young woman and her massive dog, but it turned into a meaningful and heart grabbing story. You will laugh and cry and be thoughtfully reflective while reading this book.

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for and honest review.

I will be reviewing this title on my blog at some point and will add the link when it is posted
Profile Image for Melissa.
209 reviews9 followers
April 8, 2017
I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could! What a beautiful life. So glad the author chose to share it with the world.
Profile Image for Jade.
685 reviews1 follower
January 19, 2019

I went into this book assuming Gizelle would die in the book. It's a book about a dog's bucket list. That part seemed obvious.

What I wasn't expecting was this somehow-glorified story of a girl with too much traumatic baggage in her life, using a dog as a crutch to keep herself stable. I have no doubt that Gizelle was loved, deeply. But was she cared for adequately? Was all the human food good for her? Was living in a tiny apartment, with occasional leashless-romps through Central Park really good for a dog of this size? Was it any surprise to anyone when she came down with incurable cancer at six years old?

Big dogs don't live long. But food, diet, and lifestyle can definitely add quality to those years, and even add TO those years.

Even the bucket list part of this book was worthless to me, in concern for Gizelle's well-being. Oh, it's a cute, anecdotal story about a girl and her dog, but everything, even the last days of Gizelle's life, were meant for the betterment of Lauren and her emotional state. (Not to mention, Gizelle's actual passing was written in such a high level of detail, that I wonder if the book itself isn't some additional method of resolution for Lauren's healing).

I hope that people don't read this book and see this as some laissez-faire way of raising a dog, or that this is normal or okay for a large dog to come down with cancer at six years old. Because, while the writing had merit and the book flowed with a catchy flair, the entire theme just reeks of irresponsibility that's never resolved and is clouded over by a sea of Lauren's own personal healing.
Profile Image for Paul Pessolano.
1,348 reviews39 followers
February 7, 2017
“Gizelle’s Bucket List, My Life with a Very Large Dog” by Lauren Fern Watt, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Memoir Publication Date – March 07, 2017.

There is not much one can say about a book about a dog other than you have to read it.

This is the story of Lauren Fern Watt and he dog, Gizelle. Lauren got Gizelle as a pub, well one should say that Gizelle is an English Mastiff and pub and small do not apply. Lauren took Gizelle to college, and upon graduation Gizelle weighed in at over 160 pounds, far outweighing Lauren. Gizelle and Lauren were inseparable and became even more attached to each other when Lauren moved to New York City. One can imagine the two of them living in a small apartment. No matter where Lauren went in New York or regardless of the time at night she never had to worry about her safety as long as Gizelle was with her. Although Gizelle was a “gentle giant” she struck fear into anyone who did not know her.

Several years after the move to New York Gizelle got sick and Lauren began to realize that their days together may be numbered. It was then that Lauren decided to make a Bucket List of the things that Gizelle liked to do and began to cross them off as they accomplished them.

A really nice dog story, that shows the love and devotion of Lauren and Gizelle, and what they meant to each other. It is a real treat to follow them as they attempt to fulfill the Bucket List.
Profile Image for J.
235 reviews
March 22, 2017
I read this book in one sitting, during a plane ride. As the owner of a very large dog who passed away from osteosarcoma myself, this book resonated with me. It felt very familiar, from loving that giant puppy, to people's crazy questions and commentary, to connections made over the magnificent beast and to feeling there were things I wouldn't normally do, but could be confident doing with my big dog keeping me and my girls safe! Even the disease and death were agonizingly mirrored.

As far as the writing and content of the book, it was entertaining. I can't give it a super high rating because there was nothing spectacular about the book, only about the dog. I see that it may become a movie and I would watch - seeing more of Gizelle will make all the difference!
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews84 followers
April 25, 2017
So I knew this wasn't the best day to be reading a story about a dog that had a bucket list. Anyone who reads my reviews regularly knows I mention my animals a lot, and recently I lost on of them completely unexpectedly. I love animals though, and animal fiction just as much, and somehow experiencing someone else's love and loss helped a little.

This book is beautiful, deeply personal and well written. Even with Austin on my mind constantly, this provided a distraction. Five stars.
Profile Image for Charlie Miller.
76 reviews
November 9, 2017
I thought this was going to be about the dog, but is was way more about the silly girl who owned her. The dog’s part of the story was good, the rest was a waste of time. Should have been called “My uninspiring life and some time with a cool dog”.
Profile Image for Jennifer Blankfein.
384 reviews655 followers
December 6, 2016
If you love your dog like I do you will be reading this in one sitting and through tears from page 150 to the end! Have you hugged your pup today? Loved this heartwarming story!
Profile Image for Laurie.
34 reviews
April 1, 2018
Sweet story. Felt a little like a young adult read.
Profile Image for Kerri.
580 reviews2 followers
December 24, 2018
I need a break from books that make me cry like a baby.
Profile Image for Rhiannon Morgan.
10 reviews
March 6, 2020
Once I started to read this book I couldn't help but think why I thought it'd be a good idea to read it in the first place, it was obviously going to have a very sad ending and would no doubt make me cry. Well, I did cry, but it was such an immersing read, I felt like I knew Gizelle personally, and had experienced all of her adventures with her. A truly beautiful book for any dog lover, especially a lover of giant curvy dog breeds 🐶
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