The youngest of three girls always wanted a dog. When their grandmother began to fall ill, the family decided getting a dog would offer companionship for the whole family. The family went to see a Westie litter that was born on January 21, 1998. Duke was a funny looking pup with very large ears and was quite clumsy. Duke approached the family and began chewing on their shoelaces. The family adored him and Duke was brought home.
Of course, he was spoiled. Mom became the main caregiver/nurse, dad was his favourite companion, the girls were there for hugs, kisses and a good scratch, and Nana snuck many of her favorite foods (egg salad sandwiches, pickles, Werther's Originals and vanilla ice cream), yes this was a secret from Mom for many years: Duke had the common "Westitude."
"Mr. Duke" as he was often called, was quite an intelligent dog, and also very, very stubborn. The family agreed he suited his owners well. Although Duke was infamous for his barking, he was a kind and gentle soul who just wanted to make sure those entering the home were friends.
New visitors (especially boyfriends) were warned they had to pass the Duke test when the came in. If Duke didn't like them, chances were Dad wouldn't either. Duke was never a very healthy dog and needed many veterinary interventions. Duke had a few rough veterinary experiences at first, which he never forgot. This made grooming and trips to the vet office a little tricky. Duke was very strong, and it usually took at least four people to get him up on the table at the clinic. The family learned very quickly how important it was to find an experienced vet and groomer.
Thanks to Dr. Slome and his staff, Duke began to trust again and happily wagged his tail to the animal hospital. Many times, the family thought they were going to lose him, ailment after ailment. However, he was a tough, stubborn guy, and recovered well from his many ailments. Shortly after his surgeries, he was back to his old self, jumping on the couches despite a previous, serious leg injury, chomping away on his bone or dinging his water dish for a refill in the wee hours of the morning, and barking at the fall leaves.
Duke never let his skin conditions or frequent trips to the vet dampen his spirits, or prevent him from sharing his love with others. He was always there to lick away a tear, or just to make us laugh. The last year, was quite rough. Duke continuously fought his worsening skin condition, arthritis and eye infections. However in 2009, bladder cancer, diabetes and cushingsdisease were very tough battles for Duke. The family watched Duke continue to fight time and time again, he was as stubborn as was his family. We all wanted Duke to remain in this world with us for eternity. However, Duke's health continued to decline, and his quality of life was declining so very quickly.
Duke died on December 30, 2009. He passed peacefully as his family pet him and told him it was going to be ok. He will be greatly missed and he is deeply loved.
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Dr. Slome, Roy, Sarah, Andrea and the rest of the team for always caring for Duke. Looking back on what still feels like a very short twelve years, the family appreciates the joy that Duke brought our family.
May Duke rest in peace. Lost, but never forgotten.