March 31st 2007 6:07 pm
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We had to let Duke go this morning. He'd been doing so well, we thought he'd be with us for another couple of months at least. Just Thursday evening I was sitting with him, brushing his coat, and played some tug-of-war with him (he was laying down of course). But he took a turn for the worse Friday evening. I left work early, and met up with my mom and the two pooches at the vet just before they closed. The vet gave him a couple shots...something for the pain, I forget what the second one was for. We stayed at my mom's for a couple more hours while I cuddled and brushed Duke, then came back to crash at my place. Mom called me at 5am...Duke was in a lot of pain, whining and yelping. She gave him double his dose of pain meds, and while it stopped the whining and yelping, when John and I got back up there 40 minutes later, it was clear that he was still hurting very badly. So I sat with him, brushed him some more, cried over him, and fed him and Maia hashbrowns from McD's, until the vet's office opened up again. After calling the vet's office, we all sat with him, and cried some more. Then the 5 of us piled into mom's car, and I sat in the back with Duke as we drove to the vet.
He went very peacefully and quietly. I had a feeling he would. I held his head in my lap as they gave him the injection, stroking his face. He's been completely deaf for a good year now, but I couldn't stop talking to him -- telling him I loved him, and what a good boy he'd always been, and how much we would all miss him. His whole body just relaxed, there'd been so much tension from the pain. We all cried our hearts out, and my mom and I told stories of the mischief he used to get into when he was a rambunctious puppy. Maia sniffed him once, and seemed to know. She's been so good these past weeks, but it's been hard on her, watching her big brother decline like this. Afterwards, we all piled in John's truck and drove all the way down to Ventura to go to Petsmart, where we spoiled Maia rotten. But before that, I sat with Duke's head in my lap and stroked his face until his body lost its warmth.
Fourteen years, buddy. You've been with me for over half my life. It's hard to imagine a life without you. You were my first love, my best friend, my constant companion. You've been with me through everything. No one could ever have asked for a better friend and companion, and you are truly an amazing individual. It was so hard to let you go this morning, but I could hear you telling me that you were ready. I only wish that there was more we could have done for you, something we could have done to let you continue living the life you loved so much.
I hope you're waiting for me, somewhere. There's so much I want to do with you again. Be sure to shed lots of fluff onto the Big Guy In The Sky. Go dig up lots of strawberry plants, and chase lots of cats and squirrels and tennis balls. Run like the wind through grassy fields. Scare off a few more Goodyear blimps. Let your enthusiasm shine forever, and I will join you as soon as my time here is done.
Take care, big guy. Be good. I'll see you later.
Adopted at 6 months old on May 16, 1993
Left us today, February 10, 2007
Forever in our hearts