Remember Bully, Jefferson’s cutest pet? He won the honor after a week-long nomination and voting process. We wrote a story about Bully, and told you about his bucket list. And this weekend at Jefferson Day, we’re going to help Bully check one item off his list. He will be in the Jefferson Day parade as the township’s cutest pet. He’ll be traveling in a convertible with his owner, Jessica Gravino.
Here’s the original story:
It’s not often that a dog has to have a bucket list. But Bully, who is owned by township resident Jessica Gravino, has one. Bully was able to check one item off that list recently, when he was named cutest pet in Jefferson.
Bully doesn’t have much time to complete the rest of the items on his list. He has been diagnosed with cancer, with a tumor behind one eye. Doctors have estimated Bully has about 1-3 months to live.
“We tried everything we could,” a tearful Gravino said. “The canine oncologist said the cancer is too aggressive and even if we operated and did chemo and radiation, it would only buy him a little bit of extra time, and his quality of life wouldn’t be good.”
So Gravino and her boyfriend, Rick Bongo, with whom Bully lives, are just trying to make the time he has left as comfortable and as much fun as possible.
“One of the things on his bucket list is to eat whatever people food he wants,” Gravino said. “I can’t remember the last time I gave him dog food. He eats pizza, burgers, hot dogs, pork chops—if I eat it, he eats it.”
Gravino met Bully—and fell in love with him—when he was 12 weeks old and she was living in Atlanta.
“I knew I wanted a pit bull breed, but I didn’t want an aggressive dog with any issues,” she said. “I looked for a long time before I found Bully.”
Bully, American Staffordshire/Boxer mix, lived in a family-run shelter with the family who had found him wandering the streets as a stray, and put his picture up on Petfinder.
“I looked at his picture and I knew he was the one,” she said. “Then when I went to see him, he crawled into my lap, and that was it.”
When Bully was around three, he and Gravino traveled back to New Jersey to live.
“I drove up from Atlanta to New Jersey with him and he loved it,” Gravino recalled. “To him it was just one big long car ride.”
Bully has been just as happy in New Jersey as he was in Atlanta. The only thing he doesn’t like, Gravino said, is snow.
“He really didn’t like the snow at all,” she said. “He kept lifting his feet because they were so cold.”
Now that the weather is warm, Bully is just living a peaceful happy life with Gravino and Bongo, cuddling on the couch and playing with squeaky toys, one of his favorite things. And Gravino is hoping the she can help Bully accomplish more of the things on his bucket list. They include:
- Go swimming: Gravino has friends with pools that have invited Bully to take a dip.
- Run around off leash in a fenced in yard: Similarly, Gravino’s friends have invited Bully for a run.
- Go to the beach: Gravino has investigated dog-friendly beaches at the Jersey Shore with the intent of taking Bully soon.
- Eat out at a dog-friendly restaurant.
- Eat whatever “people food” he wants: This is ongoing.
- Go for a ride in dad’s car.
- Play with doggie friends.
- Go to doggie day care.
- Get anything he want at pet store.
- Go see his friends in Atlanta one last time.
- Be voted cutest dog in Jefferson: This one is checked off.
- Be part of Jefferson Day parade as cutest dog in town.
So keep your eyes peeled for Bully in the parade.