College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

Dutchess was a real blessing to our whole family. She shared with us 15 years of a wonderful life. Our Dutchess left a huge hole in our hearts with her passing. 

We got Dutchess as a puppy from the pound, although she basically picked us out! We believe she was a white Spaniel and Terrier mix. Our family was walking around the pens and I just started calling: "Here puppy!" (clapping hands) "Here girl!" Out of the sea of brown and black puppies up popped this one white head with golden brown ears that perked up and bent over. 



She was barking as if to say "pick me," and followed us around the perimeter of the cage. We stopped and said "Hi," wiggling fingers in the chain link fence. She jumped and barked until she had our attention real good. Then she leaned against the fence and gave us her "please pick me" look! Well, that did it. My mother thought we should call her Dutchess, and it stuck. 

There are so many special memories with Dutchess over the years. She filled our home with her love. One special memory that stands out is when we took her to the hospital to visit our son, Jason, who passed away of leukemia about ten years ago at the age 18. He was in a ward on the ground floor of the hospital and we snuck Dutchess in the sliding door to visit him! Everyone, including Jason, got a kick out of that. Of course, Dutchess was nervous from all the strange hospital smells, but when we put her on the bed next to Jason she wagged her tail and kissed him. It was a brief visit, but a real victory for all of us emotionally! 

My husband works and I am at home, because I have MS. Dutchess has been my daily companion. She has been "my buddy" who I could talk to and pet and love. It has been so comforting to talk to her and receive her unconditional love as she lay with her head in my lap. She had a special way of looking up at me, as if she knew what I was thinking and feeling. 

A few years back, I took her through obedience training locally. She loved being around all the people and dogs, and did pretty well for an older dog. A lot of the training stuck, but often was ignored when a salesperson came to the door, or on the 4th of July when there were fireworks booming. 

It was very hard at the end because she was suffering from old age. She could hardly walk and was losing control of bodily functions and her sight. When the vet checked her before she was put down, he said, "She's got a strong heart." And, I thought to myself "she's all heart." 

The picture was taken on Christmas a couple of years ago. She is eating a dog biscuit she got from her "Grandma." She will be missed. 

Margot Johnson
November 2000

posted November 17, 2000
Revised March 13, 2007     |     Printer Friendly Version