Our boy. We raised him from the time he was six weeks old. He came to us from the house across the street where his mother, father and about eight other siblings were.
This is how it worked. I selected an all brown dog. Mr. Honey said he didn’t want an all brown dog cuz that was boring. ( I declined to remark at how all the walls in the house were painted that bachelor beige but I did note the irony.) He selected the dog with the white tipped feet and tail.
I thought naming him Tip was pretty clever. Mr. Honey did not. Prince? No. King? No. Duke?
Ah. That was in June of 1997. About a month after he was born and we brought him across the street and for the next fourteen years he was Mr. Honey’s constant companion. I was the one who trained him, took him to classes and was the alpha. We were pretty tight, especially when I left the corporate world. We hung out at the forest preserves and went for car rides. He became protective of me. But the day Mr. Honey retired, it was all over for me. I was just the girl in the house. He became a daddy’s boy and they both thought it was OK to ignore me.
And they both learned that was a mistake.
He was a smart, clever, affectionate boy who made us laugh and at the end we cried a lot. I am so grateful we didn’t have to make that final decision and that he went peacefully on his own but we do wonder if he thought we abandoned him because he was in the hospital.
All dogs go to heaven so by now he must know we didn’t. And he must see how sad we are – especially his best bud.
Tomorrow Mr. Honey has an appointment with the chiropractor. While he’s out, I will clear out the space where Dukie’s bowls are. We should get his ashes back in a couple of weeks and Mr. Honey says he wants to place them in the backyard because that’s where he liked to be.
The house is incredibly quiet. No big dog lumping around. No cold nose waking us up in the morning or barking at a dog on the next block. No empty package of cookies on the floor…OK, there’s that but not one that Duke was responsible for.
I miss our boy. And like it is for all living things there will never be another like him. Thank God we got that one.