Today was a combination of two things; the hardest decision I ever had to make, and the saddest day of my life since 1998. There are few things in life, And I mean a very few, that love you more than life itself, and whose sole purpose in life is to make you as happy as they know how to.

I have been blessed to have had the companionship of several dogs in my lifetime. I truly believe they are the example that God sent to us to show us what love and joy truly mean.

But for the past 13 years, God graced me with a very special messenger of love and joy, a spirit he sent me to show me to love everyone and to find joy in life’s most simple pleasures. He was the second messenger, preceded by another golden retriever named Rusty, but Duke’s message and spirit were much, much stronger.

The vet informed me this morning that Duke had a mass on his spleen which was causing a serious heart murmur; The odds were good that the mass was cancerous, and unfortunately, the odds were also good even if it wasn’t, at his age he would not survive the surgery.

Dogs are unique in the sense that when you have children, if you’re lucky, you get to see them grow up and start families of their own. Dogs become your children forever. Their sole purpose in life is to make you happy, which makes them happy. Another lesson from God above.

Having had to watch my former golden retriever Rusty suffer through cancer till the very end, I made a heart crippling decision to let Duke go before me but I am certain that he will be at the rainbow bridge to Heaven waiting for me when it is my time.

My goal in life is to be half the human being that Duke was. Believe me, those are big, enormous paws to fill. My boy Duke–till we meet again.



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