Duke the Dog

Posted on: Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Amy,

Duke the puppy
In the summer of 2008, Jon and I, not yet married (or even engaged), began our own little family. Jon, who had always wanted a german shepherd, found the perfect little dude not far from his parents house and talked me into going to see him. A few days later, we had Duke.

Duke was a sweet puppy. His feet were too big for his body, his ears were even bigger than his feet. He used to somersault as an attempt to remove his collar and leash. He was afraid of sprinklers, loved my grandparents golden retriever, Beau, and fell asleep more than once with his back legs on the ground and his front paws and head on a chair.

He was SO teeny!
Shortly (literally, a week) after Duke came home with us, Jon went away for a month long training. I was left with this little puppy and a heart that missed my love. Duke and I bonded big time during that month. He slept at the foot of my bed, he went for lots of walks with me, he even drove to the post office with me every single day, in order to send a letter to Jon.

It's been five years since we brought that spunky little puppy home. He's grown into a ridiculously well behaved dog. Seriously, Harry shoves his hands in Duke's eyes and mouth, and Duke just lays there. Harry drops food right in front of Duke's keen nose, and he leaves it until we tell him to get it. Duke will even stop mid-run while chasing after a squirrel if we tell him to.

These two are seriously the best of friends now.
Yesterday, we sent Duke to Michigan to live with Jon's family for six months. Jon is getting ready to deploy in the next few months, and we knew this would be the best for Duke. While Jon's away, I'll have a full time job, a full time baby, a full time house, two cars, a cat, and a yard to take care of. Not to mention bills, grocery shopping, cleaning, and all the other things that don't seem like that big of a deal until you're the only one doing them. And Duke is never quite right when Jon leaves. He's still a ridiculously sweet and loving dog, but he stresses, and then turns into the work of three Duke's. And aside from all that, I will be traveling a bit while Jon's deployed, and Duke is becoming increasingly turned off to the boarder.

All that to say, we sent our first baby to live in Michigan for six months. Six months. Half a year. Without my sweet boy. Needless to say, today I'm a bit of a mess. It's too quiet in the house. There are bits of fur on my carpet I don't want to vacuum up yet. Little things, like getting ice for my water, or opening the closet to get my shoes, or picking up Harry's toys before we go upstairs are eliciting a full fledge breakdown.

I know in my head, this is the best. Duke needs attention I won't be able to give him. He's got four people up there who absolutely adore him and will treat him better than a prince (shout out to the new HRH the Price of Cambridge). A stable environment. But man does my heart ache. It (that dang heart) is second guessing this decision every minute. It wanted to call the whole thing off a week ago. It only made it up to the landing on the stairs - just out of Duke's sight - before completely breaking down. My heart just isn't sure.

I love all 80lbs of this dog.
It's amazing, isn't it? How much pets really are family. You know how it is with your two pups... they truly are your kin. Sure, Duke drives me crazy when he barks at anything that moves... especially when I'm trying to get Harry to sleep. Or when he chews up a stuffed banana, which just so happens to be Harry's favorite toy. Or when he steps on my foot for the sixtieth time in one day. But man, that dog is loved. The tears which have been streaming down my face all day are proof of that.

Have you ever had to rehome a pet? Even temporarily, it tears you to shreds, doesn't it? How do you deal with something like that? Duke has always been my big, cuddly bear when Jon's gone and I'm sad. How am I going to deal with Jon being gone, feeling sad, AND missing Duke?

Counting down the days until Duke comes home,
xo, Mallory


  1. I cried just reading this. I hope the next 6 months goes as fast as the last 6 with Harry only just for Duke!!

  2. Sorry, that last comment is from your beautiful mother who can't comment unless it is anonymous :-(

  3. Mallory, we had to send Murphy to live with my parents in St. Louis for 2 years. 2 years. As long as we have had him. I am not a big crier and I was beyond balling. Hysterically, ugly crying like I was sending him to the pound. Murphy never settled into loving his sweet little sister even though he really wanted too. But it was more than that, while Tyler is not deployed he is always gone working long hours or overnight and walks with Murphy got cumbersome instead of fun. The hair was too much, the little things were too much. He wasn't getting the attention he deserved or needed. At my parents house, he has a yard, 3 dog friends and my dad who has basically claimed Murphy as his fourth child. Murphy is beyond happy and it is hard to admit but we are happy too. It was what was best for everyone and I KNOW that Duke thanks you. You are one amazing mama (both human and dog) and you did the right thing. xoxo

    1. Oh Lindsey, I'm so sorry. Rehoming your dog is such a hard, hard thing to do. It takes real strength to understand what is best for HIM (and not let your own emotions get in the way). I completely understand how sometimes, it just gets to be too much. Like I mentioned, Duke was always off when Jon left, or when he worked nights, or when he just didn't feel like he was getting attention. It's so great to know that the puppies love their new (for now) homes, isn't it?

      Thanks for sharing. And right back atcha, you amazing mama you. XO, Mallory


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