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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Duke

By: Jennifer Perry

This is a short story but very powerful. Our family had a wonderful 16-year-old German Shepard by the name of Duke. Duke came to my husband through the Human Society and went two weeks before John found his name. Everyday John would call the dog by a different name until finally, while watching a John Wayne movie, he said, "Duke". The dog looked at him, perked his ears (as best as a GSD can) and tilted his head. It was sealed.

Duke weighed about 130 pounds but would sit in my lap during thunderstorms. My daughter would ride and sleep on him. When either my husband or I would tickle Morgan, Duke would become very agitated as though he were afraid we were hurting her. He was very protective of his family, up to and including the other animals that were in his care.

A little over a year ago the horrible decision to put Duke to sleep came upon my shoulders. He had arthritis and hip dysphasia to the point that he would fall down every time he walked. His bladder was not holding, he was in kidney failure, going blind and deaf. The vet came to our home and put him to sleep under a beautiful basswood tree. When my four-year-old daughter came home with her father we all buried our dear friend. That night my daughter called me to her room and said, "I saw a white light Mommy. It was Dukie saying goodbye." She smiled and fell back to sleep. She has never needed to cry over the loss of Duke because she did not lose him. She knows he is watching over her.

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