Dear Duke,

Where do I start with a dog like you?

It’s pretty raw right now and I am finding it so hard to come to terms with your sudden loss.  But I know you would only want me to be happy as you were always the happiest doggie in the world.  Always wagging your tail and just loving life.  Every single thing you did, you did it with such excitement and happiness and now in your absence I am trying to find your happiness shine through.

Born and bred near the White Cliffs of Dover in England on St Patrick’s Day you came into our lives as the most adorable little pup to join our family with Lottie. 

Right from the start you stole our hearts. Oh so endearing, and the cutest little fella we could have ever wished for.  You slowly grew into one of the most intelligent doggies, always wanting to please us.  You were funny, confident and friendly and, putting it simply, just loved life.  You developed the most wonderful temperaments which we nurtured to get the absolute best out of your little life.  You brought so much happiness to our lives and made us smile in every single thing you did and no matter what you did you made us so proud. 

Living the wonderful London life you made so many doggie friends little and large. You had a presence and won many hearts over as you always welcomed everyone with your bark! A friendly bark to let everyone know you were there.  You and Lottie soon became dubbed as ‘The Royals’ in London amongst all your doggie friends. Together you would strut your stuff and lead the way, making sure you were always out in front.  A born leader and a doggie with the biggest heart. 

From puppyhood I took you to doggie training as soon as I could.  Each weekend without fail rain, hail, snow or shine we would go to our local alpha dog training classes.  I wanted you to become a good canine citizen and, most importantly, if there was one thing you had to learn, it was recall.  But as the weeks went by, they soon turned into years as you thrived in training and continually wanted to please.  You progressed from puppy foundation classes, to bronze, silver and gold awards in doggie obedience training and before long you were even putting Border Collies to shame.  I was so proud of you Duke in every single way although you did have one behavioural lapse when you peed in the side pocket of a random lady’s Gucci handbag before we quickly scarpered…….at least you chose class!

I have so many wonderful memories that we made together with all your doggie dachshund friends in London.  We spent many hours walking on Hampstead Heath with all your doggie friends and of course our local Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace). You spent so much time with your best buddies Daks, Daisy, Sir Roger, Boris, Lulu and Wally and so many others. After our walks we would often end up together in one of the local London pubs for lunch or a Café and you always managed to convince me I needed to buy you a pig’s ear for lunch! Crunch Crunch!

Dachshund meet-ups with the London dachshund community and of course the Dachshund races with both you and Lottie racing together. Naturally you would always be the one to beat her for first place. You had to be Number One!

Your absolute love in life was food.  It was your motivation and you would do anything for food.  You would hear a fridge door open from another room and come scampering. You were my sidekick in the kitchen as I prepared all our dinners, always hopeful for an offcut of whatever I was cooking.  I am positive you knew every single recipe I made as you watched me with such intent while I cooked. Food was your world and even on any doggie walks you were the first to sniff out any human who had treats on them and politely sit at their feet then bark to let them know you wanted a treat! Such an opportunist - and you had worked out the game and knew exactly how to get what you wanted. 

The next part of your life saw you travelling across the world to live your life in Melbourne, Australia.  10 days in quarantine and it was no surprise you were the one who comfort ate by eating Lottie’s food as well as your own.  You put on weight in quarantine while Lottie lost it. But you both braved it out and we were all reunited after your 10-day spell in quarantine.  It was the most emotional reunion ever and once again we were family.

Life here in Australia became your forever home.  You loved your daily walks with Lottie and many other dachshund friends.  You made new friends and shared so many fun times together with them.  You had your first chance to swim in the ocean or, as we called it,  ‘Walking on water’ dachshund style.  So many long walks in the local parks and I took you both to so many nice places.  You and Lottie were my absolute priority and I wanted to give you the best lives possible. 

I was fortunate enough as your fur Mama to spend so much time with both you and Lottie at home to ensure I missed nothing about your little lives. You and Lottie became the snoopervisors and feature models for your own branding 2Royalhounds in canine products for dachshunds.  Given you were always the one who loved to show off and charm you were the one who always preferred to do the modelling over Lottie, politely bossing your way in front.  😊 Yes, you were rather bossy!

Flies – let’s talk about flies Duke.  Well, they were your one and only dislike in your little life. Can’t blame you really as no one really loves pesky annoying flies.  You would either bark at them to bugger off as if they would listen or hide from them as you had had enough off them.  Neither worked, so of course it was us humans who had to help you deal with them. 

2019 was a big year for you.  A casting call for Legally Blonde Melbourne for a dachshund to audition for the live musical.  At first, I didn’t think given you were an older dog 10 at the time that it would be worth auditioning for.  But I put in a last-minute application as I thought ‘Why not’. Afterall, you were a well-trained boy.  Nothing ventured nothing gained, and most of all it would be fun!

The call from the producer came two weeks after you auditioned and we were absolutely delighted that you were the chosen one.  We were so proud of you in more ways than one.  Proud mostly that everything you had learnt as a pup at training you had not forgotten and that you were about to become a doggie star.  Not many doggies have that achievement on their resume. 

You graced the musical stage as ‘Bruiser’ - Elle Woods’s dog in the live musical - like a true star.  You did every single performance on the big stage with lights, orchestra, dancing heels, singers and audience.  My heart was bursting with pride with each performance you did.  And not only that, you did every performance without faltering and played your role to perfection.  You were loved by the cast, the audience and everyone and really stole the show.  As your fur Mama you absolutely did me proud.  Deep down you truly had the most amazing temperament and were born for the stage.  A real show off and performer and a true star.

But Duke, most of all you were my boy.  You were the most amazing little doggie that filled our lives with so many happy memories and so many fun moments.  You were the most perfect doggo we could have ever asked for to come into our lives.  You were famous across the world by virtue of “the nipple meme” and had a presence everyone felt.  You were a real Mama’s boy and you showed me love I just can’t even begin to measure.  Purely unconditional.

Every step I took you were at my side no matter where I went.  You had a bed in every room of our house and whenever I switched rooms you would also switch bed. I was your world as much as you were mine. Our bond was exceptionally strong and unable to be done justice by words. You felt so safe in my arms and we always loved cuddling up together. The true definition of a real Mama’s boy. 

I miss your bark and you bossing me around. I miss your sprint down the hallway of our house and out of the doggie door at lightning speed to do your business and come straight back in and bark to remind me it was breakfast time. I miss you reminding me each afternooon when you came to bark at me to remind me your dinner was due. Funnily enough you once did eat your dinner at around 6pm but over the years you managed to wangle your dinner to earlier each day.  6pm became 5pm, 5pm then became 4pm and we ended up agreeing at 3pm. You have even tried 2pm but thats when I finally put my foot down. :)  I miss your sprint and bounce into your bed at night excited about your bed biscuit. I miss that morning ‘lump’ in the bed and you sitting on my head in the morning when you came up into our bed for morning cuddles. I miss every little thing about you and all your delightful quirks.

You trusted me and I trusted you.  You listened and you followed.  You were the best companion to our dear Lottie who also now misses you terribly.  You looked after your older sister and barked to protect her.  You were her shining light. 

You left us unexpectedly on my Birthday, and whilst it was the worst birthday present ever you made sure you left us on a day we would never forget.  Strangely now, it feels special and fitting you chose this day.  Which will now become my ‘Dukeday’.

You only knew love and trust and we were exceptionally blessed that you chose us to love.  We can’t believe you have departed our daily lives and we miss you terribly and it’s so hard to fight back those tears.  But we know you won’t want us to be unhappy, rather happy you filled our lives with so many jam-packed memories and such happiness.  The list is endless. I could talk about them all day long.

Duke, Dukie Boy, Double Neck Dukie, Dukie Doo, Sir Duke, The Dukester, Bruiser – just some of the nicknames for the most strokable, cuddliest, slinky-eared and well natured boy in the world.

Run free our precious boy. You were truly one of a kind in more ways than one and touched so many lives and hearts in London, Australia and across the world.

Until we meet again someday, just know you are loved no end and forever in our hearts.  I still feel and think you are beside me and will forever more.  

I love you my snuggle buddy. Oh what I would give to hear you bark one time more. 

Mum, Dad and Lottie. Xxx 



  • Siobhan said:

    Beautiful words as always Helga
    Our animal family is a part of our forever family
    In the great questions of life and hereafter they definitely have a place and we will be with them again even if we don’t understand fully how now
    Sam has visited in many ways since he has gone
    We need to catch up for a chat soon
    And yes your birthday is now even extra special xxxxx

    November 02, 2023

  • Tanya said:

    I’m so sure Sir Duke would be grinning with pride whilst tears leak from his eyes, whilst reliving those precious memories. Forever yours together ❤

    November 02, 2023

  • Raylene said:

    Omg not a dry eye here. I had to stop reading several times to clear my tears then start again. This was the most beautiful and heartfelt memoir of such a remarkable and loved member of your family. My heart is so broken for your grief. May his memories bring you comfort at this sad time. We have all had that special fur baby in our lives that has touched our hearts in a special way like no other. You know the one that is a stand out, a true gift. Take care and Rest In Peace wonderful Duke. You have left a huge hole in you mammas heart.
    Kind regards
    Raylene Trotter
    Miaybrik Miniature Dachshunds

    November 02, 2023

  • Raylene said:

    Omg not a dry eye here. I had to stop reading several times to clear my tears then start again. This was the most beautiful and heartfelt memoir of such a remarkable and loved member of your family. My heart is so broken for your grief. May his memories bring you comfort at this sad time. We have all had that special fur baby in our lives that has touched our hearts in a special way like no other. You know the one that is a stand out, a true gift. Take care and Rest In Peace wonderful Duke. You have left a huge hole in you mammas heart.
    Kind regards
    Raylene Trotter
    Miaybrik Miniature Dachshunds

    November 02, 2023

  • Sally said:

    This is absolutely gorgeous!
    What a beautiful tribute to your gorgeous Duke. He certainly had a beautiful life and sounded like a character both on and off the stage!!!!
    A heart warming tribute to your much loved boy.
    Thinking of you at a very sad time and thank you for sharing your journey with your much loved boy 🐾🐾🐾🐾♥️♥️♥️

    November 02, 2023

  • Lisa Gherardi said:

    Such a handsome and clever boy. A real star🌟

    He lived his best life.

    Precious memories to cherish forever.

    November 02, 2023

  • Mark Notley said:

    What a wonderful letter you wrote to Duke, Helga. Loved reading a snippet of the fabulous life of Sir Duke. He really did live life to the fullest. And was so much loved by his Mum, Dad, and his Royal sidekick, and best buddy, Lady Lottie. R.I.P. Sir Duke.💔

    November 02, 2023

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