Category Archives: Dogs are family

Duke’s legacy

Scan_201903132009 Pictures 017ajay and duke

March 2019

The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being. – Konrad Lorenz

A year has passed since we lost our pet Duke to cancer and the past few days have been filled with bittersweet furry memories.

Death seems to have a way of playing tricks on my mind and some days I think Duke has been gone a long time and other times I think I can hear his soft snoring. There seems to be an ebb and flow to grief. This month, so far, has been an emotional time for me.

But even in his absence Duke has found a way to be part of our lives. It all started on that first weekend after Duke died and my husband and I found ourselves with an empty Saturday afternoon ahead of us. We missed Duke and our daily walks with him. So we decided to drive to a state park and go for a walk. On that hike the fresh air, the warm sun and gentle breeze soothed our grieving hearts. We shared Duke stories and shed a few sad tears.  At the end of the five-mile hike our sorrow was a little less and our hearts a little lighter. But on that cool windy afternoon we had a sort of epiphany when we realized we liked, no loved, spending time together. So a new hobby was born.

Since then we have walked many miles and trails. Rockville Park in Fairfield continues to be a favorite with the stately oaks and winding paths. We challenged ourselves on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Trail with breathtaking views of Lake Berryessa. We hiked the rocky Pacific Crest Trail near Truckee. We found refuge from the summer heat at China Camp State Park and the Coastal Trail near Muir Beach.

The 12 mile hike in mid-September on the Appalachian Trail near Harpers Ferry in West Virginia was one the highlights of our trip back east for a family wedding.

Our hikes were cut short for a few weeks when I developed tendinitis in my right ankle but we are slowly resuming our walking “dates.” The route that works best for me now is, ironically, the one that we used to take Duke on.  For practical reasons, we rarely walked Duke together; instead we took turns with morning and evening walks.

We still miss Duke and his eccentricities. But in our grief we found something enduring and worthwhile to commemorate.  Our nest is still empty, especially without Duke, but now we have a way to honor his memory and celebrate the wonder of us. What a legacy Duke has left us! We lost a pet but re-discovered each other. Our walking journey has come full circle.

Thank you Duke.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under dogs, Dogs are family, losing a pet, pets, Uncategorized

Duke taught me a thing or two (or ten)!

20180417_160055

My life is better because Duke was part of it.

Ten things Duke taught me:

10. Live in the moment. Seize each day and live well. Duke was the master of living in the moment. He was very mindful of everything and everyone around him

9. Napping is important. Duke loved his naps. He took short naps and then a long nap to recover from the short ones. He knew a short snooze in the middle of the day was just the thing to keep you going.

8. Routines are essential. Healthy habits are good for you and the environment. Duke loved the excitement of going out but he really was a creature of habit. He loved his bed, his backyard and his stuffed toys. He was always glad to be home.

7. Be excited about the little things in life! Duke knew how to greet the unexpected visitor (think UPS man or raccoon) as well as a loved one.

6. Be patient. Duke knew the value of patience and the patient dog always got that last crumb!

5. Exercise every day. Walk everywhere! Even when he was hurting, Duke was always ready for a walk, albeit a short one. Miss those walks so much!

4. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Even during the summer heat, Duke loved being outside and the best part was coming inside to cool off on the tile floor. Ah, the small things

3. Sun bathe daily, in moderation, of course! A perfect spring day or a sunny fall morning was Duke’s favorite times to be outside. Like Goldilocks he didn’t like it too warm or too cold.

2. Be one-pointed. Give your one-pointed attention to every task, whether cooking, cleaning or looking at your Facebook page! Duke gave his full attention to whatever he was doing whether sniffing a blade of grass or eating his Parmesan-laced dog food.

1. Death is part of life. This was the most important lesson Duke taught me through his own personal example. Even when he suspected the end was near, he had only affection and trust for all of us. We were his family and he was happy to be in our company. His death has left me heart-broken but I admired the way he approached the end of his life with such dignity and grace. He lived his life with honor and died with canine elegance and poise.

 

13 Comments

Filed under Death, Death of a pet, dog's life, dogs and pups, Dogs are family, final journey, harmony, losing a pet, Personal experience, pet therapy, Uncategorized