Quite literally. Duke is gone. My buddy is gone. The one thing that loved me unconditionally and listened to me more than my husband or children is gone. I will miss him terribly, but his life goes on with his new family and ours goes on without him as it did before.
Duke is a great dog, a great big dog in fact. He was nearly perfect in every way...well except for his puking and chewing and jumping and... well mainly his anxiety was the issue. And his anxiety and uncertainty around Bubba who is full of anxiety and impulsivity just wasn't mixing all too well.
Bubba had taken a liking to squeezing Duke's head and Duke finally had enough and started to growl softly. Then the growl turned into Duke biting himself.
The local dog whisperer came, took one look at our situation, and told us that Duke was a wonderful dog but our home was not the best home for him. I knew he was going to say that exact thing, but it was still hard to hear, and even harder to accept.
So it has been over a month or two since that dreadful day, but we finally found a family that seems perfect for Duke. A place where he can become the dog he deserves to be...part of a family, walked every day, loved every day, and much less anxiety.
His new daddy picked him up a few moments ago. I did not cry, but I know it will come with the realization that big, slobbery, messy, chew-up-all-of-my-bras Duke is truly, permanently gone from our lives.
Moosie adamantly pointed to the floor when I told him that Duke was going bye bye to live with a new family. "NO! No." He firmly said while shaking his head and finger. Bubba just asked why and then went on to talk about his new Godzilla toy.
For me the hardest part will be losing those moments where Moosie would roll around on Duke and make those sweet babbling, pre-language sounds that we never hear otherwise.
And the happy-go-lucky way Bubba would start calling Duke with this high-pitched squeal..."Dooooooker!" every morning and every day when he got home from school.
And the way Hubby would love on the dog and talk to Duke in a soft, childlike voice when he thought no one was looking.
And I'll miss the late nights when I could snuggle with Duke when I couldn't sleep and he would lay his big head and paws on my lap and just give me the quiet acceptance I needed to still my mind.
Ok, the tears are coming now.