Two dogs on opposite sides of the world said goodbye this month in similar ways and in ways that honored the very essence of dogs.
They didn’t concern themselves with self-pity, nor did they worry about tomorrow. They simply played and loved in the moment like only dogs can – even on the very last day of their lives. The two beloved dogs chronicled their journeys online, receiving tens of thousands of condolences from fellow pet enthusiasts from around the world.
Myron, a mixed-breed dog from Australia, and Duke, a.k.a. “Dukey,” a black lab from Texas, both had aggressive cancer. And both of their families made the heart-wrenching decision to have them put to sleep, rather than allow them to suffer through the last days of their lives.
Over the past several years, more dogs are found online. They have blogs, websites, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, sometimes with thousands of followers. Many are written from the firsthand perspective of the dog. It’s an entertaining way for people to try to understand the behaviors and quirks of their animal companions.
Social media also serves as a way for people to receive support and work the grief when a beloved pet dies. Since a pet’s lifespan is so short, it is – unfortunately – an all-too-common event for people who follow pets online.
It causes a lot of sadness, even for those who did not know the pets personally. But as Duke and Myron have shown, the Web can also be a great place to celebrate a dog’s life.
Photographer Robin Arouty of Houston helped her close friend, Jordan Roberts, through the last day of Duke’s life, the Houston Chronicle reported. Through a series of touching pictures, Arouty captured Duke’s personality as he splashed at a water park, gobbled hamburgers, snuggled with friends and family. The day ended with Duke settling down in the shade of a peaceful park, as everyone said their final goodbyes July 8.
"Funny, Jordan told me yesterday 'I don't even remember you taking pics,’ ” Arouty wrote in her blog. ‘All I remember is you holding my hand.’ ”
Duke was diagnosed with bone cancer three years ago and had his right leg removed, according to reports. He was later diagnosed with hemngiosarcoma, an aggressive and fast-moving form of cancer.
After posting Dukes’ pictures and story, Arouty had more than 100,000 visits her website, which temporarily crashed from the traffic. She also reported thousands of shares from her blog and Facebook.
In an interview with KLTV Duke’s owner, Jordan, said: 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."
A ‘celebrity dog’
Myron, a mixed-breed dog from Sydney, Australia, gained celebrity status on Facebook and in his hometown, where over the years he was featured in media stories, raised money for charities, visited nursing homes and schools, and had his picture taken with celebrities such as actor David Hasselhof and Metallica's James Hetfield.
Myron’s ‘mom,’ Raquel Wood, penned a book about her dog called “The Magic of Myron.” It was featured at book signings and bought by friends and other people from around the world.
The ‘magic’ of Myron was simply his example of enjoying life no matter what went wrong.
“…He is all about giving and pleasing us and he's got this inner joy,” Wood told The Camden Narellan Advertiser in Austrailia.
Myron, who was blind, also had seizures and other medical conditions. He lived to the age of eight, even though vets expected him to live for just five years.
Like Duke, Myron recently learned he had an aggressive form of cancer. His family vowed to have him go on their own terms and have him put to sleep. Days before his life ended July 15, Myron went on a series of final adventures – romping at a local lake, getting showered with love, treats and dog toys; and eating lots of KFC popcorn chicken – his favorite.
Myron summed it up best in one of the parting quotes he ‘wrote’ on Facebook:
"Love is the important thing. No time is ever long enough no matter how many years we live, so we just need to make whatever time we have count. I did that and I'm happy."