Meet Duke, a smiling, happy 8-year-old black lab who just had one of the best days of his life. It was also his last.
Duke became a part of the Roberts family in Houston, TX about three years ago. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma. They treated the cancer with chemotherapy and surgery, removing his leg. But a few years later, he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. The tumor was growing rapidly, and there were no options left for treatment.
When Jordan Roberts was told that Duke's tumor had grown too large, that the cancer was no longer treatable, she wanted to give him the best last day on earth.
"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," Roberts writes.
A family friend who is also a pet photographer, Robyn Arouty, came by for support and comfort on the day the Duke passed away.
"I was just there on Monday for moral support and brought my camera along," she explains on her blog. "When I walked in and saw the hamburgers on the counter, I knew some special things were about to happen. I just felt it."
Arouty captured Duke's last moments, and the photos are touching--heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time. The photos are so full of life and happiness, a lasting memory that will comfort the Robertses for years to come. The photos also speak to the hearts of those of us who have lost pets. Apparently countless people have contacted Arouty about her photos, expressing how her work and the selfless choice that the Roberts made has touched their lives.
"Dukey's story has created this beautiful forum for people to share stories of their beloved pets who have passed away," Arouty explains.
Check out the touching photos of Duke's last day. But really, grab a hankey; you will need it. You can see more photos on Robyn Arouty's blog.
As Arouty says in one of her pieces, "What I Learned About Doggy Death: "Letting them go when it's time is the most selfless thing you can do."