According to the dictionary, a hero is “a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”.
For us, a hero is a person like Robert Kugler, who decided to take his beloved dog diagnosed with cancer on an epic farewell road trip across the country.
Kugler had to amputate Bella’s left front leg in May of 2015, right after he knew she suffered from advanced osteosarcoma. The choice was between this and putting her down.
Bella was 9 years old, too young to go, but she was given just 6 moths to live, so Robert took the decision to pack everything on his 4Runner and travel the country with her to make these last months worthwhile.
Together they have visited the areas of Chicago, Cleveland, D.C. and Niagara Falls, before going south, driving through Florida and then heading to Kansas City. After 3 months at home they continued their road trip to North Carolina and the Keys.
14 months have passed and Bella is still here, looking happier than ever. They’ve inspired lots of people during their adventure, people who motivated them to keep going and never give up.
Kugler lost his brother in Iraq in 2007 and his sister two years ago, so this adventure is helping him too.
During a recent interview he said that seeing people’s lives ending too soon changes your perspective on life.
“We were hiking in the Adirondacks when Bella insisted on coming up to the waterfall with me and a friend I had made in town. Once she got up there she couldn’t make it down. I tried showing her a few options that I thought would be a good route and she looked at me like ‘Dad, I need help.’ Something about being scooping her up and carrying her off of the rocks and across the water really strengthened the bond at that very moment. As if I were telling her ‘I got you, and I always will.” Kugler told Mashable when asked about one of the best memories he made during the trip.
They’ve been traveling since November, and their intention is not to quit yet, since Bella is doing incredibly well at the moment.
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