The sense of loss and grief is far more than I anticipated. I lost my friend of 14 years yesterday.
My unconditional loving, bad breath, tail wagging, crooked smiling, face kissing dog Duke had to be put down.
His legs finally gave out, no longer able to handle his barrel chested 90 pound frame. He couldn’t walk even a step without a severe limp, so I made the call to put him out of his misery–and throw me and my family into it.
We got Duke from a local rescue. They said he was half lab and half hound, but he had a square face and probably had a little pit bull in him. But the breed didn’t matter at all. His big heart and loving soul were the only information that would be needed on his “papers.”
Initially, he was rambunctious and VERY hard to handle. It was not uncommon for me to rescue my wife Terri outside while Duke was dragging her down the street. And I would say we went through about a dozen TV remotes when he would mistake them for a chew toy.
A few years ago, he tore both of his ACLs running in the snow. We researched the surgical option and it was $12,000 to repair both legs, so we treated him with rest and meds. He fully recovered, but at a much slower pace.
Still, to the end, he was all about love. My face was washed by his kisses everytime I would come home. It was the sweetest kind of love.
And when my four daughters would come to visit on Sundays, he would run and get a toy to proudly display it to them at the front door before being smothered in a massive 5-way hug.
I looked up in the air tonight and saw the most amazing sunset. Duke brightened the sky in Heaven, and I know he will be waiting for me when I get there.
His tail should be going at a record pace, with the obligatory tv remote firmly clenched in his jaws.