DENVER (KUSA/CNN) – A Colorado family is determined to make their dog’s last days the best possible.
Marsha’s favorite place is a field where she can run and play.
"We've taken her camping, fishing...she loves to play in tall grass," Marsha’s owner Judy Jaros said.
Though she may not realize why, each day she’s here is a gift.
"We go fly fishing, the only trick with that is every time my husband casts the fly, she thinks my husband is throwing a ball so she goes trying to run in the river," Jaros said.
Marsha is a 5-year-old American Bulldog mix. Chasing mice in a field leaves her blissfully content.
“I just fell in love with her,” Jaros said. “We’re just giving her one fun day after another.
Jaros is a Humane Society volunteer and self-proclaimed cat person. She had a change of heart the day she met Marsha.
“She has a personality plus,” Jaros said.
Marsha was at the shelter for six months, recovering from a former life that had left her battered and nearly broken.
"She had so many problems when she came in. She had an infection, she had a broken toe, and she had a bullet in her elbow," Jaros said.
None of it mattered to Marsha, and soon, it didn’t matter to Jaros, either.
"So we adopted her, plus she had stolen our hearts so thoroughly - my husband's too," Jaros said.
But the day they were set to bring her home forever, the Jaros’ found out Marsha had stage 3 skin cancer.
"So what could we do? We had to adopt her then!" Jaros said.
Instead of giving up, the couple has given Marsha a sort of canine bucket list, making each day a gift filled with her favorite adventures.
"She doesn't act sick so we don't think 'Oh poor Marsha, she's a victim of cancer.' We just think it's another day with Marsha let's do something fun," Jaros said.
When it’s time to say goodbye, Marsha will have left the Jaros’ rich, maybe not in their pockets, but surely in their hearts.
"She had a really hard life, she deserves a chance. Yeah, it might break the bank, but it’s money - whatever - she's brought us more joy. She's just priceless to us, so it was worth it," Jaros said.
Marsha’s family gives her a special diet and supplements to help slow the cancer’s development.
So far, surgery has been unsuccessful to remove all of Marsha’s cancer because it has spread to her lungs.
Copyright 2014 KUSA via CNN. All rights reserved.
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