From FBR: We lost another dear alumni last month. It took 6 months in our rescue for Duke to find the right forever home. The first 3 months were touch and go on whether or not he would make it through heart worm treatment, but he did. Then when adopters would come to meet him, he would say hello then run as far as he could away from them. That is, until Jim arrived--then it was like magic--Duke ran up to greet Jim and never left his side. A week later Jim and his family came for him. They just celebrated 5 great years with this gentle giant, and he was very loved. We just wish it could have been longer.
Tribute from Duke's Family: Our Duke (aka: Dukers, The Duke)
Duke came to us from Florida Brittany Rescue as we journeyed to Myakka City April 28, 2013 with all his new brothers and sisters to bring him home to Loxahatchee. Described and observed as a happy boy but a bit of a loner, we soon found we had a lot to learn from this magnificent Brit!
Once settled in he checked everything out, romped (with his always elegant gait) in the yard and settled by the back sliders and just stared outside. The very first day he escaped! Searching frantically by car and foot he magically appeared 45 minutes later like nothing had happened at all! That evening we ordered a GPS, and it was his newfound friend as far as we were concerned. After a year he really didn’t need it…this was his home, and he guarded it like it was gold.
On his first visit with our local vet to get established, he unfortunately tested positive again for heartworms and had to go through 2 more full treatments. His activity was restricted, and he took the treatments in stride and settled into his new home and family. Observant and smart, he soon figured out how important he had become to our entire family and, loner no more, he took over the Pack….the chair…the bed...the couch! His only real fear was of thunderstorms, how he hated them. As soon as it started storming, he would head straight for the bathroom and climb into the bathtub and stay there until the storm was gone…there was no coaxing him out of the tub, no way no how!
Once off of activity restriction, he just bloomed. Duke loved to run, still the master lizard chaser, his focused concentration was a sight to behold. He was quite a clown. He loved music and to dance. If he had something to say he’d say it. We would be sitting talking about something and up came his head, and he just talked and talked until he had his full say in the matter. His quiet, gentle nature naturally just took over everyone's hearts. He thought he was a small dog and could fit into tight places, and it was always fun to see him realize he couldn’t quite fit there. His beautiful face, soulful eyes, gorgeous coloring, long legs and narrow butt made him one handsome boy that did not go unnoticed by anyone.
Through the years he was the welcome wagon for anyone who came to visit – he craved being the center of attention without being demanding. All of our friends and family always asked how is Duke? His unconditional acceptance of changes in the home were all fine by him as long as he was home!
In December 2017 he developed a cough and was diagnosed with bronchitis and placed on antibiotics and cough meds. On Christmas day he coughed up blood and was immediately taken to the ER and admitted for 5 days. Washing, biopsies, breathing treatments and a bronchoscopy later the docs were still puzzled until a rare bacteria came back from the biopsies. The heartworms that had damaged his lungs had pockets that the bacteria had settled in and was determined to be the source of the bleeding and the chronic cough. The docs developed a regimen and it appeared to be working. Duke was feeling better and back to his fun and games but with coughing jags that would come and go.
He passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in his chair on a Wednesday morning late in April. We had a wonderful 5 years with Duke and although there is a hole in our heart he gave us so many memories and love that the hole is filled with the love of Duke. He was one-of-a-kind, and we miss him every day but know that he is still here in spirit. The morning that he died I was by the koi pond, and for the first time ever the water lilies bloomed for one hour…I knew it was Duke's way to comfort and tell us everything would be okay.