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In Loving Memory of Duke...

It is with great sadness that I have to report that I lost my sweet, handsome Duke over the weekend. I adopted Duke from Paws & Prayers on August 19th, 2009. He came to me after recently losing his paw when he was hit by a car, and his family no longer wanted him (I have no idea how anyone could have ever given him up). I got Duke when I was in a very rough patch in my life, but Duke showed me how to be happy, love, laugh, and live again. I felt pure love, joy, happiness, laughter and smiles every single day that I was blessed to have Duke in my life. He had terrible separation anxiety, fear of being in a closed area (likely from being crated too long-he was terrified of crates, and even broke out of one on his own when we were trying to figure the little guy out), and together, we overcame that. I was so proud of him. He was so gentle with everyone-there wasn't one person or animal I didn't trust him around. Babies would climb on him, and he would just sit there, and I knew he would never hurt them. He even visited people at a nursing home, and we would catch a group of ladies walking from the nearby assisted living while on our walks once in awhile, and he would just sit there, right in the middle of them, and allow them to feel the joy of petting him (he had the softest, most beautiful, golden fur I've ever felt). He touched so many lives and was a beautiful soul. The purest form of love I have ever known. In July of last year, Duke was diagnosed with cancer. It was in the early stages, and we decided to pursue treatment, both conventional and holistic, right away. We even drove down to Columbus and stayed at a hotel together so that he could get radiation. He came through everything with flying colors. His cancer, although not curable, had gone down to practically nothing, with no signs of regrowth. I cooked all of his food for him, and always made sure he got his meds and herbs. He had even starting doing hydrotherapy lately on the water treadmill over at Dancing Paws to help with his arthritis (he also received acupuncture for the arthritis and cancer as well)-he was up to 16 minutes, just last week. He didn't love the water, but did it for me (and I did it so that his legs would not hurt him). During this entire time of treatment, our bond became even stronger than I ever thought possible. He was truly my "soul-dog", and everyone at my last job and on Facebook knew him through my funny stories, and crazy amount of pictures I had on my phone (he was so cute and handsome, I was always taking pictures). All of my employees got to know him because he was there when we opened my store, and they would often see him when I would bring him up for a visit. Everyone just fell in love with him. He knew just who needed him, and would just sit so politely. He never took anything without it being given to him (seriously, I could leave a chicken sitting out and wouldn't touch it-so polite). My customers got to know him because we had a donation jar out for him to help with his treatments (which helped tremendously), and through what I learned in this whole cancer process, I have been trying to help others make good decisions regarding diet & vaccines. Duke LOVED to be outside. I suspect he may have been an outdoor dog before, because the second we woke up, or came home, he would run right to the door to go lay out on our patio. If it was sunny, he would lay in the grass. He never chased after anything-I knew he would never leave me. In the car, he would sit with his face tilted towards the 1/2 open window, closing his eyes, with the breeze blowing through his peaceful...I actually used to tilt the rearview mirror and watch him and smile while I was driving. After a stellar routine cancer check up on Friday morning, Duke for some reason became ill late Friday, and I brought him to the ER. Somehow, he developed an infection as a side effect of one of his treatments. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. I really thought he would pull through, but his body just couldn't fight anymore. Duke survived being hit by a car, and he did survive the actual cancer...just part of the treatment that they have only just now started learning about. All the docs thought he would pull through as well, so to hear of his passing on Sunday really blindsided me. I guess I wasn't ready, but you never really are I suppose. I just thought since we had the cancer in check, we could overcome anything. He passed shortly after I had gone to to Akron to visit him. I know it will get easier, but I miss him greatly. But then, I think, his old owners would've just had him put down, and I wouldn't hurt so much if I hadn't loved so much. Know that Duke was loved every single day, and happy every single day of his life. What you do, rescuing doggies, and finding the right parents, is so important. I thought I saved Duke's life, but he saved mine. I know because of the love Duke gave, I will rescue again, because I know there is another dog that needs a mommy, and will likely end up rescuing me in a different way, and also, helping to fill the hole in my heart left by my sweet boy Duke. I cannot thank you enough for bringing Duke to me, and for everyone that he was able to affect so positively. He was a gentle, sweet, beautiful soul, who will be loved forever. Thank you again for all of your work, and for my sweet Duke.-Janet Yurcik


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