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The Words I Cannot Speak…

It’s been 39 days…  39 days without my walking partner. 39 days without him laying on my feet. 39 days without toenails clicking on the hardwood. 39 days without having a cold wet nose nudge me in my sleep or root under my palm for a pet. 39 days without…him.

I miss his smell, his soft floppy ears, his soulful eyes, his silky coat, his chaotic tail, his little noises…his kisses.

13 1/2 years to the day…together. And now…39 days apart. It’s still impossible feeling.

His useless body now lays peacefully under his favorite nut tree in the yard. I visit him more often than anyone knows. I still sneak out there at night sometimes, when Mark’s at work and Mia’s soundly sleeping…just to fool myself into feeling he’s close again, right by my side. I talk to him like he’s there…even though I know he’s not.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for his patience, unconditional love, and for helping me pass through some very ugly seasons in my life. I’ve always had the Lord by my side, but He sent me a physical Angel to comfort me when I needed it most. God knew I needed him. And now God’s the lucky one to have him back by His side. I’m eternally grateful for his years with me here…but now I’m left unbelievably jealous of heaven.

Soon…my sweet boy. You may have traveled farther on up the trail from me this time, but I know where you’re at and I’ll join you soon enough. I love you, Duke.

  • Heather Underwood - I am so sorry for the loss of your lab..
    I have a one year old black lab named Lucy & I totally understand the bond you two must have had. She is my best friend. I miss her if I am even away just for the day. She came into my life just when I needed her. I know God knew all the great she would bring to me. I teared up reading your post..

    On a happy note…your pictures are wonderful:)

  • Sarah - Your love for that precious dog warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. You brought so much happiness into his life as well. Thank you for sharing his story with us.

  • Betsy - Ahhh…thank you ALL for you incredibly sweet comments. Linda, I think a book is a wonderful idea! Even if I’m the only one who has a copy, I think it’d be a healthy, cathartic process and a great tribute to his unconditional devotion to me. It’s officially “on my list” to do. 🙂 xo

  • Linda Matthews - Betsy you get your gift of words not from just your heart, but from your father. You both share your heart so beautifully. I too am a dog lover, and know the feeling of a great loss. Our 4 goldens are running free once again in heaven. All 4 are buried here on my property..”Oregon Woods’. Your Duke was special and I think it would be a marvelous idea to do a book honoring him…your incredible photos and thoughts from your heart would make a marvelous tribute to your Duke. Thank you for sharing some of your very personnal thoughts, experiences, and love. Linda

  • Katie - Meant to post about this a long time ago. Loved this post…such a sweet pup. 🙁

  • Tonya Poitevint - Me again…this link may work better…

  • Tonya Poitevint - Hi Betsy!
    My name is Tonya Poitevint, and I am a friend of Erika Boutwells here in So. Oregon! I check your blog periodically and always love what I see….this is no exception….your tribute to your beautiful dog! I was compelled to share this link with you about God and Dog….I hope you enjoy it!

  • Nicole B - Bets, what a beautiful and heart wrenching post! Is sit with tears brimming over at your love and friendship! Thinking of you and sending prayers for a quiet heart that remains full of love and rememberance for such a special friend. oxox

  • Nicole - Oh Betsy, what a beautiful post & sweet pictures of sweet Duke. Again, I can’t believe I never met him, but knowing the love I have for my 11 yo lab Bubba, I always felt like we were kindred doggie spirits. When I saw the sad news of your furry friends’ passing, I grieved for you without ever having met him. And when I clicked this blog post, I knew I had to brace myself yet again. My eyes are swollen with tears at the beauty of your love for this dog, the sadness that he can no longer be with you (for now) and the fortune he had to call you his mom… My heart is with you.

  • Paigie - You are a beautiful person Betsy! Your writing is so soulful and touching. Amazing tribute to Duke! If I were a dog, Dukes life would have been the one to live! You are the most loving, caring, warming and devoted Friend, Wife, Daughter, Sister (well mine anyway) and Mother. He was blessed to have a Mama like you! What a tear jerker but also your writing and photos brings peace to knowing that Duke had a wonderful life and is now in a better place. Thank you for sharing. Love you dearly, P

  • Amanda Noyes - Oh Betsy. What an incredible dog, and what an incredible friend. I was just telling Giezi about him today and how I wish he got to meet him and how much he meant to you and everyone that met him. He sure was great company. He always wanted to be where the party was, and most of all where you were. Duke loved you like crazy and it is because you loved him like crazy. He’s chasing rabbits in heaven now.

  • Papa - Truly a Spirit-filled requiem for an incredible part of your life. Only God and your papa have been a male influence longer and I say that reverently about our God. Yours was a kindred, God-gifted relationship that no one knows in the depths of their soul but you, Duke and your Father. The unconditional love that you spoke of is why we long for the kind of love we can’t provide, understad or even fathom this side of Heaven. Like our precious Lord, Duke gave you that unconditional love and never left or forsook you, sweetheart. We all would like to be that way, but we fail every day. We weep for you and for Duke and that’s okay. But very soon, our Lord Jesus alone will make ALL things right in His sight, and we will all be together for eternity. No more tears, no more frustration, no more lonliness, no more longings….just perfect love and peace at the feet of the God Who is Love and Peace. May the Lord Jesus be your overwhelming comfort even tonight, my sweet Betsy. I love you so very much.

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