Six months ago we adopted a Basset/Coonhound mix that had not been very well cared for. He was living in a tiny apartment with a lot of people and spent his days almost constantly locked in a too small crate. When we brought him home he raced around our backyard, sprawled on every reasonably flat surface he could find, and greeted his three new kids with love and slobbery kisses. Duncan relished his new freedom and loving family. All he wanted was to cuddle and play, and we were all too happy to oblige.
Duncan was not well socialized but with plenty of love and patience and obedience classes he calmed and learned to respect personal space. Some times. He loved to go to the dog park, even though all he did was run away from the other dogs that were playing. His favorite toys were his two hedgehogs that made the most ridiculous quacking noises, and also anything remotely fluffy. More than anything else, Duncan loved his kids.
He loved to lay with Logan at night and watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars with him. When Logan was having a melt down and screaming Duncan would often lay on or near him to help him calm himself. Logan and Duncan liked to play tug of war because really fetch didn’t make a lot of sense to either. If they had the ball, why on earth would they give it up? Duncan was a calm, constant force for Logan. With him around many of Logan’s social skills blossomed. Logan was comfortable to be himself and Duncan was happy to just be loved and occasionally wrestled.
Julia spent all day with Duncan and I while the big kids were at school. She loved to take him to the dog park, where she often got just as muddy as he did, and lay on the couch watching their favorite shows. Duncan was always so gentle and tolerant with Julia, and Julia was learning to be gentle and careful with him as well. Together they taught each other manners and respect and I loved seeing their love and companionship grow.
Every day Duncan waited on the stairs by the front door, starting around 3:30pm. He was waiting for Claire and Logan to come home from school. As soon as he heard the bus his tail would start to wag and he’d wait patiently, but excitedly, for them to come in the door, hang their backpacks, then sit at the table to eat their snack and do their homework. As soon as all of that was completed he was up and pacing the dining room, waiting for them to take him outside to play and romp. Claire loved to hug Duncan and give him kisses on his nose, and he usually repaid them with very wet kisses of his own.
When we moved from North Carolina to Texas Duncan was fantastic in the van. Far more chill than the kids. We stopped in Biloxi to visit my older sister and her family on our way out here and he spent so much time running around in her backyard with her dogs. Here in Texas we don’t have a yard yet (we’re still looking for a house) but he went on many a walks around the neighborhood. His favorite walks were along the boardwalk and pier by the bay. He’d often climb onto a bench and just sit and watch the boats. I’d sit with him when I had time in the morning and afternoons, but I wish I’d made more time. I wish every single time he jumped up and wanted to sit and relax I’d let him just hang out instead of hurrying him to do his business so we could go back inside. I wish I’d done a lot of things, but mostly I wish Duncan was still with us.
Last Friday, on February 19th, Duncan slipped out our front door. We had been working on sitting and staying but he was young and excited and the allure of a busy, four-lane road just outside of our neighborhood was too great to resist. Duncan was struck and even though we got him to his vet within minutes his injuries were simply too traumatic. Claire and Logan and I were able to be with him at the very end and wee’re so very grateful for our vet and his amazing staff and all they did for Duncan.
Our entire family is very sad and we will miss him for a long time. Duncan was the dog our kids were going to grow up with, we knew we’d have to say goodbye to him eventually but we thought there’d be so much more time. Hug your pups and cats and any furry creature you love extra tight. Actually just hug everyone you love, it’s so easy to take our days for granted. We are so grateful for the time we had with Duncan, and we’ll always love him.