Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remembering Duke

A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter's drawing near.
--Mary Carolyn Davies

Yesterday, my beloved dog Duke was put to sleep. This was very sudden and unexpected. On Wednesday, he was running and playing, on Friday he was paralyzed and in terrible pain -- and the prognosis was not good given how quickly and aggressively the paralysis was spreading. It was an awful decision to make. Duke was my best friend -- a constant companion for six years. If there's consolation it's that he lived a very full and happy life -- he took in more trails and beautiful vistas than most people I know. He always stayed on the trail and led the way. And when I stopped to take pictures, he stopped and patiently waited. He brought lots of joy to my life -- I'll miss our walks in the woods and curling up with him on the couch. He was so smart -- he knew lots of tricks and loved to put on a show for friends. Today, everything I see reminds me of him. The house is quiet and empty without him here. I know the hurt will one day heal, but I'll always cherish the memories of a dog named Duke.

More photos of Duke here, here, here, here and a picture of us together here. I'm grateful to my friend Lee who put together a wonderful slideshow of photos of Duke.

14 comments:

  1. I'll miss pink nose. He truly was an amazing friend and you were amazing with him. Thanks for sharing him and for the many fun adventures we all had together. Lots of memories to cherish. May your heart slowly heal but always embrace the time that was yours and Duke's.

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  2. So sorry for you and your family. Duke is a beautiful dog. I'm sure he heightened and enhanced the nature you so beautifully chronicle in your writing and photography. May quick healing and long memories be yours. ~Laura Leigh Davidson (Milligan '96) New York, New York

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about this unexpected loss. We'll keep him and you in our thoughts.

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  4. I am sorry to hear about your friend and loyal companion. Loosing someone so full of life so quickly is especially hard, but it sounds like he always lived life to the fullest. Cherish the memories of the good times, and thank you for sharing the photos of your beloved dog Duke. God Bless you and yours

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  5. So sorry you have lost your loyal friend!

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  6. I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like Duke was a great ol' dog, and you made me think of a couple of my own great ol' dogs, dogs that will live forever in my heart. May Duke live forever in yours.

    Godspeed, Duke.

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  7. Mark, so sorry for the loss of your dog and friend Duke. My favorites of Lee's photos are the ones of you with Duke. I can tell how close the two of you were. I come from a family that always had dogs that were considered family members. Some of my more vivid memories with sons Scott and Todd are those times when we dealt with the illness and subsequent death of a beloved dog. And thanks for sharing with me and others this news and the wonderful photos and words.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about Duke. I know the grief is deep and lasting, but I'm so glad you were blessed with his friendship for the time that you shared with him. He was great!

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  9. Thoughts are with you today. We have made that horrid decision twice and it is so hard. I'm sure Duke thanks you for having the courage to do what was in his best interest.

    I once thought after losing a dog I would never have one that I loved so much or who bonded so well with me. I was wrong. There is indeed another best friend for your future. Different from Duke, but still the best dog ever.

    I understand and empathize with your sense of his presence. It was three days before we could bring ourselves to gather up the beds and toys. And for months, we would glance at her favorite spots and think about her.

    Thanks for the moving video.

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  10. Mark, I am so sorry to read about Duke's death. I read Lee's blog post on Saturday, but it wasn't until I read this post by you on Sunday that I realized Lee was talking about you and your dog.

    You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers right now. I lost a soulmate who happened to be a dog a little over 2 years ago, so I know what you mean about "everything you see reminding you of Duke" right now. It is a special gift to have a friend like Duke, and as the coming days and weeks turn into months and years, you'll still continue to be reminded of Duke on a regular basis, but with much less pain and sorrow than right now.

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  11. My heartfelt thanks to each of you for your comments and words of encouragement -- I greatly appreciate your thoughts and support.
    --Mark

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  12. Mark- what a tribute that we could all aspire to... "He always stayed on th trail and always led the way"
    I think he might still be leading and on that trail. And what a sign of the presence of God among us! I am so sorry for your loss.
    Heather H.

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  13. I am sorry for your loss, I know Duke will be missed. I feel your pain, I love my brother from a furry mother.

    http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l144/tgaines72/dogfall1212.jpg

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  14. I'm usually lurking in the background here, but hadn't checked in a while. Now I'm sorry about that. My deepest sympathies to you - it's never easy to make that decision, even when there's really no decision. I've lost two that way. It looks as if you have some wonderful memories together, though, and hopefully they can offer some comfort.

    *Hugs* via the interweb.

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