Dukey Broke The InternetJuly 11, 2014

robyn arouty dukey 2014It’s been approximately 3 days, 12 hours, & 41 minutes since we said goodbye to Dukey. What has happened during this time is nothing short of a million miracles.

First, I’d like to say that many people commenting on the blog post believe that Dukey belonged to me. I’m a photographer, animal rescuer & advocate in Houston, TX. Dukey’s Mama is Jordan, a dear friend of mine & rescue partner. I was just there on Monday for moral support & brought my camera along. When I walked in & saw the hamburgers on the counter I knew some special things were about to happen. I just felt it. Funny, Jordan told me yesterday “I don’t even remember you taking pics. All I remember is you holding my hand.” Praise God for realzz cuz that’s the kind of friend I wish to be.

So, I’ve watched Jordan handle Dukey’s death with sparkling grace. And she must have read my blog post from Monday morning & learned quickly from my mistakes (wink) because it’s clear that she let him “go” in a timely manner. Blessings & messages from Dukey started happening so quickly.

To date, over 100,000 people from around the globe have come to my website to read his story. He has affected many lives in the most profound ways. Oh, did I mention, the post crashed my website & it’s server & the fine folks at Folio Websites worked their geeky tails off to get me up & running again with my own shiny new server? Yup, Happiness!

Yesterday I received an email from the editor of a very popular UK page who said, “Been sitting at my desk crying like a baby over this post.” And then he asked if he could share the story. Also wanted to know more about Dukey, how he lost his leg, etc. So, I asked Jordan to do some writing…

Dukey joined our family when we were expecting our first child. Shortly after our daughter’s first birthday, Duke was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He quickly underwent surgery, to remove his leg, and chemotherapy. By this time, we were pregnant with baby number two.

Duke’s treatment was successful.

Just after baby number two, Duke had a swollen shoulder, right at his amputation site. This diagnosis was hemangiosarcoma. His tumor was growing rapidly and we were out of options. He would rally during the day, but his nights were increasingly uncomfortable as his tumor started to separate his ribs. We struggled with the decision to let Dukey go, but ultimately did everything in our power to protect him from further pain. With the help from our friends, Dukey had a beautiful day filled with love and happiness. We should all be so lucky.

THEN she wrote:

This is so hard to do right now, Robyn. I keep staring at my blinking cursor. I have too much to say about him and our lives together. It feels clinical and cold to just talk about how we got here instead of how he was so patient with Elliott when she’d used Chris’ toothbrush to clean his teeth. You know what I mean? I need help with this. I’m not finding my words still. Xoxo

I grabbed these pics off her facebook page from when it happened a few weeks ago. She posted them with the comment, “Note to Chris: Don’t use this toothbrush anymore.”

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The last time I was at Jordan’s house was when she was pregnant with Elliott, Baby E, as we liked to call her. We had a blast doing an Awkward Maternity photoshoot with her hubby Chris & italian greyhounds Baci & Nuni, which you can see a bit of here on an old blog post. Wow, thanks google. LOL.

And how is E handling Dukey’s death?

“She gave him a big hug on Monday. We talked about it before I dropped her off. She still asks where he is. She knows he’s not coming back. She is just asking to see if my answer changes. I told her how much I miss him and am sad and that we can talk about him whenever she wants. She said she wants him back home. I said yeah, me, too.” —Jordan

Somehow I think there will be more…but I’ll say bye for now…



I Died Today.July 8, 2014

I Died Today. By, Duke Roberts

robyn arouty dukey 2014-1And I ate a lot of hamburgers. We had a party.

robyn arouty dukey 2014-2And I laughed.

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And I thought about how much I’m going to miss it here.

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We told jokes.

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We were serious.

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My friends from next door came to see me. They’re twins. When someone offered them one of my hamburgers, one said, “No thank you. I don’t want to take any from Dukey.”

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Kristen came to see me. She’s a hoot. She’s my groomer. And my buddy.

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While we were waiting for the vet to come Kristen said we were going for a walk. Then someone said, “How about a play in the water at the splash park down the street?” So off we went!

robyn arouty dukey 2014-10robyn arouty dukey 2014-11“You know I’m going to miss you, right?”

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“And you too, right?”

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“I need you to help me watch over my family.”

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“Did you hear me? This is all I want!”

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We got wet today.

robyn arouty dukey 2014-18We smiled today.

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We felt grateful today.

robyn arouty dukey 2014-19We broke the rules today.

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I listened to the kids play off in the distance. And thought about my two babies at home. I loved protecting them.

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I relaxed today.

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I felt no pain. Even though the tumor grew so big.

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I felt the love today.

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I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Kira. She “saw” me standing over everybody before the doctor said it was time. I was excited & jumping & happy.

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Well, I didn’t say goodbye. I said ’til we meet again.

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God, I was lucky. Our time was short. But you both gave me a second chance & we lived it up together. You love when I look at you. I’ll never stop.



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**07/09/14 Dukey’s Mama Jordan just found his adoption video from almost 3 years ago. It sealed the deal for her. Don’t put the tissues away just yet. Here’s the real Dukey!

Dog Death, Dying, & GriefJuly 7, 2014

maya olympia copy

Dog Death, Dying, & Grief

For most of my almost 48 years I’ve been scared of death. Unsure of what happens when we die. Devastated at thought of losing someone I love. I spent many years with my Maya being fearful of her death. Of losing her. I’d imagine her getting hit by a car. Over & over. Not rational, I know, but I’ve shared more embarrassing moments with you already, so fuck it…

So, then I lose 3 of my babies in a short amount of time. Boy, how’s that for God throwing some curveball lessons?


You’d think with my psychology background I’d be better at this stuff. But psychology experience is only one part of me. I’m jewish, remember? LOL. That means that my parents worked overtime to protect me from experiencing anything uncomfortable when I was young. I think death was difficult for them too. I know it was. And they didn’t want their kids to hurt…so there wasn’t a lot of talk about the process. It’s all good. Love them to pieces. This is my journey now. I wanted to be better at it…on some level I suppose…

I’ve learned a lot in the past 2 years. And knowledge is power… Two of my friends/clients lost their dogs unexpectedly this past week. Today I will be joining another while she says goodbye to her soul dog. I didn’t hold Maya as she went away. A friend needed to do it as I was in the fetal position in the corner of the vet’s office. It got easier with Beau. Then with PJ. I’m not a pro now…& I never want to be. But I know my support today is important to my friend.


What I know about doggie death, dying, & grief:

1. The time spent worrying about them leaving steals from the time you give them while they are here.

2. They leave when their mission is complete.

3. You can love again & again.

4. Experiencing death with your heart makes you stronger. You can overcome your fears. I’m living proof.

5. Letting them go when it’s time is the most selfless thing you can do.

6. Your soul is in your pet. Just look in their eyes & you will see it.

7. Loving hard means you will lose hard too.

8. Grief is only temporary.

9. They do come back. But you have to let them go first.

10. Animal lovers are a super special breed. Accept the love & support when you really need it. It’s ok.