for those of you who don't know (or don't remember), my family made the decision to get a great dane puppy weeks before i entered my freshman year of high school. i still remember the hour and half long drive to go get this little, yet large headed puppy. (really though, he looked like a bobble head.) he was so precious and stole all of our hearts immediately.
years pass, and this puppy and i are growing up together. i am learning, he is learning (mainly not to pee in the house and not to bite people). he became my best friend. he would ALWAYS be happy to see me when i got home. he would miss me when i left for trips, especially when i started going back to boston this year. my mom would send me pictures of him laying in my bed while i was gone. he was so emotional, sounds crazy, but it was true. he was always there to hug and cuddle. but most importantly, he was my constant throughout my years in high school. my parents and sister were always there, but so was duke. he would be there to cuddle with when boys broke my heart, when my grades were horrible, or when i was fighting with my parents. my parents joke that he didn't really love me, but i think we all knew that he loved me more than anyone (except my mom).
i think we had one of the best human-dog relationships out there. this may or may not be linked to the fact that i would feed him pizza and cheese under the table. still under debate.
this past thursday, march thirteenth, i was getting in my car in the driveway to drive to school. i heard a whimpering of some sort, so i yelled over our fence at my dad, just to make sure everything was okay. he yelled back to get my mother, who was in her bedroom. i ran so fast. i got her, and grabbed the phone on the way too. five minutes later, i was called to the backyard.
just minutes earlier, duke had been running around and playing in the backyard, when he suddenly collapsed. he died in my dad's arms. just like that. it was so sudden. my parents came to the conclusion that it was most likely a heart attack.
the whole family sat in the backyard, petting and loving on him. there was no heartbeat, but we took him to the vet just to make sure. there, he was officially pronounced dead. after almost four lovely years, my huge puppy left earth. saying goodbye to him, laying on the cold, stainless steel table at the vet, was the hardest and most emotional thing i have ever done. i cried out all of my mascara (and trust me, i wear a lot). the cries came in heaving, heavy sobs. they didn't stop for hours.
as i kissed him goodbye for the last time, i whispered something in his ear. i thanked him for making it through my high school years. i will be eternally thankful for that. he was always my "emotional support system" and he showed me what unconditional love is, in a way that my family never could. he taught me how to forgive and how to not take things so seriously. i will always be grateful for this.
that day, i made the decision to post something on instagram. i received so many loving comments, people were just as shocked at his passing as i was. i received so many supportive and loving text messages, as well. i was honestly shocked at the outpouring of love from my friends. it helped my get through the day knowing that so many people are here for me.
in the days since his death, there has been a lot of crying. i never knew this much crying was possible. duke was such a big part of my life. a lot of the time, i would come home from school at lunch to pick food up, but more importantly to cuddle for a couple minutes with duke. duke was the reason why i wanted to come home. he was always so happy to see me and he ALWAYS had a toy in his mouth.
i know that i will get through this, and i know that it will make me stronger. every day seems like a daunting, scary task. but i am learning that sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and repeat. sometimes that is all you can do. and that is perfectly acceptable.
duke, i miss you and your shenanigans so much. i believe that all dogs go to heaven, so i hope that you are reunited with our other dogs, or cuddling with Jesus (as one of my best friends said). you'll be missed, but i know you are running around chasing squirrels in heaven right now. i will always love you, puppy.
if you made it this far, i congratulate you. from the bottom of the heart, i love you all. i am going to try my best to keep up with my piece of internet. just be patient, please. again, i love you all.