Thursday November 11, 2010



Sometimes writing this blog is so simple, and other times it is nearly impossible.   This one is beyond difficult.  This week, our friend Duncan passed away.  Duncan belonged to Janet, or more correctly, Janet belonged to Duncan.  They were literally inseparable; where there was one, you saw the other. 

Many of us have had animals in our lives, be they dogs, cats, horses, or hamsters.  We take care of them, we love them and we grieve when we lose them.  But Duncan transcended the typical human-animal relationship.  He was a best friend, an anchor, a wise counselor and a gauge of the world around him.

Almost always, the people who come to Old Friends for tours are animal people.  But everyone, animal person or not, would notice Duncan.  People invariably would be drawn in by his eyes, sometimes walking over to him as if they couldn’t help themselves.  I don’t know what Duncan saw, but I have heard people claim he looked right through you.  I guess he looked you over, and in his eyes you could see yourself for who you are; he saw you, the good, the not-so-good, and the sometimes kind of bad.

I remember the first time Duncan decided I was OK.  I had known him for some time, and while he was always gentle and kind with me, I knew I wasn’t anywhere on his list of favorite people.  But after a while, for some reason, he decided I was worthy of a kiss.  No big slobbery kisses for Duncan, though. No, his kisses were just like him—a slight buss on the cheek, a gentle glide of his wet nose. There were no ostentatious displays of affection.  He was a king bestowing his blessing on his subject. 

Some people, on the outside looking in, would assume that Duncan was spoiled.  He was not.  He was offered the best of everything: the best food, the best care, and always, always, the best and most love.  And now, with his passing, he is being grieved in the same way—deeply and with great respect, admiration and love.  No one, human or animal, can ever hope for more.


(thanks to Rick Capone for the photo)



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13 responses to “Thursday November 11, 2010

  1. Ruthann vandenBurg

    As always Val you have spoken of our beloved friend in such a beautiful way as only you can do. Duncan was such a special friend, he is truely missed but I know he is searching out the best food and shade that heaven can offer.

  2. Gayle

    So sorry to hear about Duncan. He sounds like an old soul.

  3. Pam


    Thank you for your eloquent and comforting words. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved furry family member is so difficult. I’m sure Duncan will be remembered with great love.

  4. Carole

    What a beautiful tribute, Val. No one could ask for more.

  5. Tim

    He, like all dogs, knew how to work me for treats. 🙂 I think I will miss most how when I would be working on the computer he would come lay his head on my leg and wait for me to pet him. He was a truly amazing creature and will be missed by everyone that ever met him.

  6. Colmel

    Now I’m crying, again, Val! We just lost our two best friends (Liesel and Guinevere) in the space of two months. I just knew that when there was a mid-week blog update, it couldn’t be good news.

    We know when we accept new canine (or other pet) members into the family that they will probably not outlive us, but we are never prepared to lose them.

    I know that Duncan will be playing with our girls and will be waiting at the rainbow bridge when Janet goes to join him.

  7. MRO

    So sorry to hear about Duncan. What a beautiful, loving boy.

  8. purrxlots

    My sympathy goes out to all of you at Old Friends, especially to Janet. It is so hard to lose one of our furry family members that are loved so much.
    I’m sure Duncan is Over the Rainbow Bridge with
    all of the friends that he has had at the farm over the years.
    Thanks Val for letting all of us that did not know Duncan, get to know him.

  9. Viv from Ivytree

    Duncan was a great communicator. He did not need to bark or jump to command attention. He merely could walk over to someone and stand by them, silently explaining to them what he was in search of…and yes, it was often treats, as it should have been for good souls such as he who give their human family such loyal service and deep friendship. I will miss his sweet face and thank you, Val, for your heartfelt tribute.

  10. Kathy

    I will miss Duncan when I visit Old Friends; we always lookked forward to spending some time with him as much as the we did visiting the horses. I was able to visit him Thursday before going to CHD. I had stopped to see Silver Charm, and there sat Duncan in front of the barn door. He would not take his treat from the hand, he looked at me intently with his piercing eyes as if weighing my worthiness in his realm, the treat was laid on the ground, and I continued on my way. I smiled as he went to take his treat on his own time. As we left, I saw him riding in the truck like the picture on this blog. He was a treasure.

  11. janet

    Thank you for the kind words.. I loved him beyond words and he felt the same. He understood every word I said to him. He was my constant companion for over 12 years and was the center of my life.

    I love you Duncan and miss you terribly.


    • Colmel

      My deepest sympathies, Janet. I truly do feel your pain. My Guinevere (in the photo with me) was my companion for over 12 years, to0. She went to the rainbow bridge one month ago, tomorrow. I am grateful that she isn’t sick or in pain any longer and for every minute we had together, but I miss her by my side just the same. I know you feel that way about Duncan. I hope that soon we will both remember the happy times without the associated sadness of their loss.


    • Rich H.

      Janet, I know just how you are feeling. I lost my best friend, Kelly last month after 15 years of life together. She was always there through good and bad, and always seemed to know what I was feeling. Everytime I come in the house I expect to see her. I would like to move ahead to the time I only remember all the fun we had but right now it’s pretty hard. I’m very sorry to hear of Duncan’s passing –wish you all the best.

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