He showed up on my Facebook feed. Duke. A 10-year-old golden retriever at the Animal Shelter. How does a ten-year-old golden end up at the shelter? I messaged them and asked if he was available. I went to meet him. “He sleeps 23 hours a day” I was told. He smelled horrible. He had just been neutered and couldn’t be bathed for a week. His breath was wicked. It didn’t matter. He was mine.
I brought him home to a four-year-old brother, a golden retriever named Micah. Micah had anxiety issues and wasn’t happy to have a brother…in the beginning. Duke settled in and soon began to win the hearts of family, friends, and neighbors. He was the kindest and most loving dog I’ve ever met. Micah adjusted and they were best buddies. When it was time for a walk, Duke did a happy dance. He loved to visit neighbors. And they all loved Duke. When the Pandemic started, I noticed him vomiting and having diarrhea. It came and it went. I held off as long as I could and took him to the vet. It’s likely cancer they said. I was heartbroken.
When I brought him home, I was thinking I would give him a great six months or year. It was just short of three. I called Heaven at Home next. It was so important to me that Duke leave this world in the place he felt most loved and cherished. When I made the decision that it was time, I was having to help Duke up and down. He ate less and was losing weight. But I wanted Duke to go while he was still having quality of life and dignity. The night before we sat at ate chocolate chip cookies together. He was tired but happy. Dr. Tay came the next afternoon and Duke immediately went up to her and leaned on her, because he was quite sure she wanted to love on him too. She was so kind and patient. I told her his story. It was peaceful for Duke, heartbreaking for me. But doing the right thing when it comes to our pets always is. I am so grateful for all the amazing staff at Heaven at Home who have such a difficult job and do it with such class and grace. Rest in Peace Duke.