Tuesday, October 26, 2010

RIP, Duke...

It was with much sadness and heavy-heartedness that Steph made one of the most difficult decisions of her life yesterday.

We discovered that Duke, our brown Doberman, had a distended stomach and was battling to pass anything out, was in general discomfort and very restless.

With that, Steph took him to the vet and, after an X-ray and an explanation of the problem from the vet, she made the decision to have him put to rest. When Steph arrived back from the vet, I noticed Duke wasn't in the car and thought the vet had kept the dog in for observation. But then she gave me the sad news.

Duke had been suffering from a heart problem for just under a year and the vet was surprised that he'd lasted this long with it. He advised her that there was a chance that an operation would sort out the stomach problem, though it may occur again sometime in the future, but also that Duke may not survive the operation because of his heart condition.

It took a brave decision on her part to ask the vet to put him to rest and put him out of the misery he had been enduring for the past few months. I do not envy her having to make that decision.

She told me she waited with Duke as he closed his eyes, to pass on to the wide open beach in the sky, to run and chase birds to his heart's content.

His pain is no more, which is a blessing. Duke was Steph's "shadow" and as much he and I butted heads on authority stuff, I will miss him too.

Duke was about eight years old and we raised him from when he was just eight weeks. He was the largest in a litter of eight pups and his grandmother was a world champion in her class. He has a name the length of my arm, but was christened Duke by Steph.

We will have a solemn little ceremony for him on our local beach in a few days when the vet gets his ashes to us.

RIP, boy...go chase that seagull...