On December 6, 2013 we adopted our new best friend, Duke. He was given up by his family at eight years old and surrendered to Labrador Rescue. He had been with them for three months before we saw him up for adoption. We arranged a meet and greet as soon as we could.
Dukey greeted us with a beautiful big smile and immediately dropped to show us his belly. We instantly decided that he would be coming home with us to live, for the rest of his life. Duke jumped straight in the back seat of the car and spent the drive home resting his head on our shoulders and sharing our lunch.
Duke settled in immediately. We lived in a unit complex on the water, with a nice big grassy area out the front. It was like he had been a part of our family for his whole life. Each morning, Duke would go outside, have a big stretch and look at the water, with a big smile on his face. We spent the weekends at the beach, going for walks and having fun with friends. Duke never spent another night of his life, without been surrounded by people who loved him and cared for him.
In May 2015, Duke developed a limp. At first, we waited a couple of days to see if it would go away but it didn’t. We took him straight to the vet and after lots of tests and a few misdiagnoses, Duke was diagnosed with cancer. We were heartbroken and distraught.
A good friend told us to contact Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre. We got an appointment straight away with Dr Rod. Duke was diagnosed with Histiocytic Sarcoma, in his right front leg and had an amputation the very next day. It was his best chance for survival and also relieved him of the pain associated with the tumour.
Dukey adjusted so well to tripod life. He was running by day seven! The smile never left his face.
So many people fell in love with Duke, so I decided to start up a Facebook page, to keep everyone up to date on his progress. He had hundreds of followers, some were even from the other side of the world!
In February 2016, after some routine scans, our world came crashing down. A mass had appeared in his abdomen and a biopsy confirmed that the cancer was back with a vengeance. We started a protocol straight away, but unfortunately nothing was stopping this monster from growing. We tried everything, but this cancer was too aggressive.
In March 2016, Duke started to show signs of declining. We knew that when it was Duke’s time to go, we wanted it to be at home and surrounded by people who loved him. I contacted Sunset Vets.
We arranged for Duke’s passing to happen on a good day, rather than waiting for his health to decline further. On March 31st, 2016 after a cooked breakfast and a relaxation treatment, we took Duke for his last drive to the waterfront and he went for his last ‘walk’ in his wheelchair. He had the biggest smile on his face.
We then took him home, where he got to eat the cat’s food for the last time and was peacefully sent over the rainbow bridge. Duke was surrounded by love, cuddles, tears, kisses and best of all, he was now cancer free.
My last promise to him was to help find a cure and that’s one promise I’ll never break. Dukey’s Cause help raise funds to find a cure for cancer and also raise awareness about cancer. We have so far raised over $26,000 for the Australian Animal Cancer Foundation.