|We call this picture of him "Sly Duke"|
As I sit here at my computer in the office (which also doubles as a guest room), Duke is supposed to be lying on the bed over there as I type. In fact, it was never too long before he came to join me in here from any other part of the house, especially if Clark was outside (which he is now) or off to run errands. I find myself looking over at the bed often, at the spot where Duke always lay: on the right side, just in front of the pillow. I always covered him up with his little blanket that Holly gave him after his back surgery. Of course, I still have that blanket, and I'm going to make it into a pillow.
We still have his collar and his leash, but we gave Holly his toys for Sunny and Bruno. Duke dearly
|His bear, 2007|
lovingly licked it and didn't like for anyone to have it but HIM. It had gotten a bit smelly from his licking it so much, but I didn't ever wash it (he only had it a few months, anyway). We had no idea when we brought that toy home that it would outlast Duke.
So . . . this is where I am today, two days after Duke left us. The house is too quiet, too stifling, too sad--but I can't muster up the desire to go anywhere or do anything. Oh, Clark has coaxed me out to eat a couple of times (so I wouldn't have to cook and he wouldn't have to clean up the kitchen), but that's about it. I always thought that grieving people should get out, do things, see friends. But that's much easier said than done, my friends. Much easier said than done. I'm told it will get better, and I know it will. I feel better here and there, only to come crashing down in a vale of tears a few minutes later. I know God is in control, I know He is watching over me, and for that I am so thankful--but my heart hasn't yet caught up with what my mind knows is true. I can look out the kitchen window and see Duke and Shadow's graves across the creek. That doesn't make me sad: I recall how much Duke was suffering, and seeing his grave brings some comfort that he IS no longer in pain.
|Typical: begging for some|
of our food!
|Tug-of-war, his favorite thing|
(besides food, of course!)
Soon, I know this sadness will be replaced with all the happy times we had with Duke, of which there were thousands, over the ten years he was part of our family. Granddaughter Annika called me last night in tears because she missed Dukie. I comforted her as well as I could, because I knew exactly how she was feeling. That dawg was downright human in his personality and emotions!
I had said, before we even started searching for a dachshund in 2007, that above all, I wanted a dog with personality--not a dog who would just lie around, eat, and sleep. Well, I got the dog I was meant to have, and he gave us far more than we ever dreamed possible. When we visited the dachshund farm that day, the breeder had about a hundred doxies running around and playing in her large yard. We didn't really know about rescue organizations back then, but this breeder had a high rating from the AKC, and all her dogs were well cared for. (Read I AM DACHSHUND, Book 2, to learn more about Duke's adoption). I wanted a black-and-tan boy, just like Shadow, so she took us inside to see Duke, her only black-and-tan male puppy ready for adoption that she had at the time. He licked my hand, then peed on it . . . the rest, as they say, is history. He made me smile every single day. He showed his love to us every single day. And now, I yearn to rub his ears, which he loved, massage his sweet face or back, feel his shiny black coat, or play tug-of-war with him (that scoundrel could nearly pull your shoulder out of the socket he was so strong!). When he looked into my eyes, I saw love, playfulness, joy, humor . . . and finally, suffering. I hope I will soon be able to forget the image of his suffering eyes near the end.
A better day will come soon when I can think of him without tears. I wish I could just skip over the grieving and the sadness, and go directly to happy memories beyond that--but that's not the way it works. I've lost other pets, but none of those losses were as heart wrenching as this one. I have heard this saying all my life: "The deeper the love, the greater the grief." Now I know what it means firsthand.
If you are reading this post, please don't feel sorry for me. I'm not looking for that, honestly. Writing this post helps to express how I'm feeling, and I sincerely hope that someone out there will be comforted because they are grieving, too. God bless all pet owners, because they will all face this moment at some time or other, too.
I am planning on writing a book soon to chronicle my journey through my time following Duke's passing. I want to be a comfort to other grieving pet lovers.
|Enjoying the yard when he was healthy|