What a day. After months of spending every moment of every day caring for Duncan, today we said goodbye to our perfect old man - 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days after he came to live with us. This photo was taken almost 2 years ago, while he was still our foster pup. I truly believe that this was the best day of his life. He was so free and wild running through those fields. It's hard to put into words how special Duncan is, but I'm going to try because it helps me to grieve. Here it goes. Several weeks after our first pup, Maggie passed away, we decided it was time to help another doggy in need. We'd known Duncan for a while and knew he needed us, but also knew he had his fair share of challenges, so I was hesitant. We set up an intro with Duncan and another young dog that I thought would be well matched with our Winston. We told Winston it was up to him. With an understanding of the world and compassion for those around him that I will never possess - Winston chose Duncan. It made no sense. Winston was young and playful, Duncan was older and didn't know how to play, but Winston just knew. Duncan needed us. And I'm forever grateful for that. Maggie had been a handful, so we thought our experience with her would prepare us to take on a more challenging dog (ha!). We quickly learned that there's really no way to prepare. You just commit. That's all there is to it. Duncan came wearing the physical and psychological scars of a life of abuse and neglect. He would respond to seemingly innocuous situations in ways that left us scratching our heads, but he was absolutely the most appreciative, loving, affectionate dog I've ever encountered. I was quite honored to be a recipient of all that love. While we faced a great deal of difficult moments, he was so desperate to become a part of our family that only a few months into fostering, we adopted him - plus, there was just no way you couldn't love him! We spent quite a while working on trust exercises with him, but while we were teaching him to trust, he was teaching us to accept. Duncan maintained some of his quirky behaviors throughout his time with us. And that was okay. They made him unique - he was a puzzle that we never needed to solve. We learned to be patient. Duncan started exhibiting the signs of degenerative myelopathy several months after we adopted him. He wowed us both as he was able to maintain a ridiculously positive attitude even after losing his mobility. While it was painful to watch Duncan deteriorate, DM really liberated Duncan in a lot of ways. He relied on us for everything. Literally everything. So, while Duncan used to shy away from our hands, he now enthusiastically expected those same hands to carry him, feed him, and love on him. It was a pretty amazing transformation. Broken in body, but healed in spirit! Today we took Duncan to this same spot in the photo. We had anticipated a peaceful picnic at his favorite lake, but were met with rain and thunderstorms. Duncan didn't care. He took his final walk in his wheelchair. We carried him to the water, he took a long drink from the lake, wet his feet, and barked at passersby. His favorite things to do. We ate super special treats, shared our lunch with him, and showered him in love. It was a good day, but he will be sorely missed. I'm thankful that Winston chose Duncan that day and thankful that we stuck with him during his difficult moments. DM is a horrible disease, but I'm thankful I shared the experience with him. We love you, Dunkee-Roo!

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