I know that Duke wasn't our father. He wasn't our mother.
He wasn't our son or daughter.
He was our friend for a very long time.
He was the best dog a family could ask for.
I'm a nurse who sees all manner of life sustaining treatment
conducted and I've often wondered why.
On Monday I had a little inkling of the "why".
Duke has been hurting for quite a while.
Somedays were better than others,
but there were days when his bottom had a very hard time lifting off the floor.
There were days when he fell trying to step into the house
and was much too heavy for one person to lift.
There were days when it took 2 men to pick him up off the tile floor
because his joints wouldn't work.
Last weekend when we were camping,
there were moments when the pain wouldn't let him keep standing.
If I could have, I would have loved for him to stay in the trees
and never come home from last weekend.
Monday evening I wondered how I'd ever dare leave my daughter
home alone without him to guard her.
I wondered who was going to let me know when a stranger
was at the door.
I wondered if I'd ever feel safe again
and I'm not a paranoid person.
I wondered if we could just keep him here with us a little while longer.
But I know that a little while longer would never be enough.
We all wanted him here for the rest of our lives.
We've had a week of good byes.
Maybe because I love him more than words can say,
Jari is in Minnesota today while we bid our final farewell to Duke.
I baked Duke pulla today and he ate the entire loaf, fresh out of the oven,
butter dripping from his face.
Pepperoni all day long.
And if I had a Fazer chocolate bar ... I'd have given him that too.
Well, maybe not.
He's inhaled that before and survived the experience.
If you're in Phoenix and need the services of pet euthanasia,
I now have someone I can highly recommend.
His end was peaceful, in fact I've not seen him breathing as easily for a long time.
I'm imagining that he is off laying in fields of dandelions,
watching for an ambling moose to come along.
His back is to me and my loved ones as it always was.
Just in case some danger was lurking where I couldn't see it.
Maybe he's waiting for the snow to fall so he can lap it up.
I want him where the grass is green,
the air is clear and cool,
and the breeze is rustling his thick coat.
Good bye my friend.
I'll miss you.