Duke To the Rescue!


Duke To the Rescue

Most of the leaves are gone. Lush green yields to gray and brown. Cold mornings and evenings remind my arthritic knees and neck that fall is indeed here. It’s easy to become down and sad when fall finally gives way to what we all know is coming. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not a big fan of winter. For my money, winter’s great purpose is to remind us how grateful we all should be when spring arrives. That’s it. Until this past weekend.

We have some dear friends who had to go to Chicago for their son’s sports tournament. Their normal dog watcher was unable to watch Duke, their 13-year-old border collie. We have known Duke for years and simply adore the old boy. When they asked us if we could help, we were quick to say yes. It has been nearly a year since we had to put our rescued chocolate lab down. Some of you may remember the article I wrote called Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge to say goodbye to her. Well, Dukey got here Friday and what a fun weekend it was.

Duke is 13. But please don’t tell Duke that. He has the heart of a puppy. He doesn’t run much anymore, but boy oh boy does he like to walk. We are blessed to have 5 acres and have trails cut through the tall grass and scrub oaks and junipers on our property. Duke has sniffed every inch of those trails this weekend. He forced me out of my office chair and out into the cold fall I lament so much. Bundling up many times a day so he could sniff, do his doggy business and sniff some more. He can’t hear very well so we use a harness with a long lead to help him. I certainly got my steps in this weekend thanks to the old boy. Our 2 rescue cats became very comfortable with him as a mild neglect seem to be the order of the day after the initial running away and hiding wore off.

So why a story about Duke? A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a young man at a cross country meet with the ‘six angels’ helping him. Observing this and really being in that moment blessed us to witness something very amazing. This weekend I had Duke to thank for several additional moments of amazing. Being outside on a cold but incredibly sunny weekend walking land almost taken for granted and seeing hawks flying and deer running, and turkeys pecking was awe inspiring on a weekend I most likely would’ve stayed inside. Duke reminded me. Duke showed me. Duke led me. Finally, Dude reminded me to slow down, sniff the air and look around occasionally. They say with age comes wisdom. I couldn’t agree more. Duke is a wise old soul. He knew just what I needed and when I needed it. We tried throwing the ball for Duke, but he can’t see very well anymore and instead of throwing the ball for him to chase, we had to throw it directly to him to bring it back. But Duke showed me beauty at a time of year I try to ignore because, well, it’s cold outside. Duke will be going home in a few hours after I turn this article in. But thanks to Duke, I will be heading outside a lot more. To walk, to breathe, to observe and to just be. Thank you, Duke. Thank you so much.

Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter resident and the Owner, Chief Dog Walker, Head Peanut Butter Stuffer Inside a Kong Toy Manager, and Vice President of Observing Life at Better Place Consulting. If you want to take a walk on a sunny brisk day, reach out at steve@betterplacemgmt.com.

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